An Oklahoma City woman who claims an uncle was the infamous skyjacker D.B. Cooper said Thursday she passed an FBI polygraph test about her memories of the case.
“It was nerve-racking,” Marla Cooper, 48, said.
She said she was questioned for more than five hours at the FBI office in Oklahoma City in January.
“I was not hooked up to a machine that whole time, but, yeah, there was a long period of questioning … a lot of digging into what I remembered,” she told The Oklahoman. “Then, there was the actual test where they asked the questions again and again and again and again. … They asked the questions several different ways.”
She said the FBI “wanted to make sure, too — beforehand — that I recognized the consequences, that if I was lying to them that I would probably be prosecuted for it.”
An FBI spokesman in Oklahoma City said Thursday he could not confirm she was given a polygraph test.
Marla Cooper is a sales executive for a coffee company. She said she has lived in Oklahoma since she was 15.
Story draws attention
Her claim of being the niece of the infamous skyjacker attracted worldwide attention Wednesday.
In a series of media interviews, she has claimed uncles L.D. Cooper and Dewey Cooper were planning something very mischievous before Thanksgiving 1971 at her grandmother's house in Oregon. She said, early Thanksgiving morning, she saw the uncles again. She said L.D. was badly injured. She said she was told he had hijacked a plane. She was then 8. Both uncles are now dead.
She told The Oklahoman on Thursday, “I remembered my father admonishing me that I could not tell anybody what I had seen. That it was a matter of life and death. And that my uncles had done something extremely foolish.
“A week after the incident, I went to my dad very secretly and said, ‘Can I tell this at show-and-tell that uncle L.D. hijacked an airplane, that he's a hijacker?' And he said, ‘No, of course, you can't.' And again sat with me and gave me a really long lecture about that. So I didn't. I never spoke about it.”
She said L.D. Cooper, a Korean War veteran, vanished about 13 months later, after Christmas 1972. She identified his full name as Lynn Doyle Cooper. She said she was told by the FBI he died in 1999.
She said she asked her father in 1995 about him and was told he was in hiding.
She said she suppressed her memories until after her mother talked again in 2009 about the possibility L.D. Cooper was the skyjacker. Her mother, Grace Hailey, of Broken Arrow, confirmed her account.
Hailey said she does not know if L.D. Cooper was injured that holiday in 1971 because she didn't see him.
“He and Dewey never came to dinner and we just kind of wondered where they'd gone,” Hailey said.
“He just kind of disappeared out of the family picture after that,” Hailey also said.
The skyjacker, who actually identified himself as Dan Cooper, claimed to have a bomb and took control of a jet flying from Portland, Ore., to Seattle on Thanksgiving Eve 1971. He released the passengers in Seattle in exchange for $200,000 in ransom. He then ordered the plane to take off for Mexico and parachuted out over the state of Washington.
The suspect became known in popular lore as D.B. Cooper because of a media mistake.
Marla Cooper said she now remembers her now-dead father, Donald Cooper, was angry over the use of the name Dan Cooper because it was so similar to his name. “I remember my dad saying, ‘They're going to think it's me,'” she said. She believes her uncle got the name from a comic book hero named Dan Cooper.
She said she also remembers her father telling her in 1995 that L.D. lost the money on the way down from the plane.
She said she is writing a book about her memories and will donate some proceeds to help veterans.
The Seattle Times reported an Oregon death certificate shows a Lynn Doyle Cooper, a surveyor, died there in 1999 at the age of 67.