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Bend Man Draws (a Pen) on D.B. Cooper


Bill Friday of Bend says it was around Thanksgiving 1971 when he was visiting his brother and his sister-in-law at their farm on the Lewis River in southwest Washington state, when all of a sudden, a convoy of National Guardsmen began searching the woods, something Friday says made him believe they were searching for D.B. Cooper.

Friday draws a lot, including airplanes, homes, bridges, barns and lighthouses. But perhaps nothing is more of a talking point than his drawings of D.B. Cooper, which he began drawing shortly after Thanksgiving 1971.

“The drawings I have done, kind of run the realm of things and possibilities that could have happened to D.B. Cooper,” Friday said Thursday.

Cooper is the mysterious man who hijacked a plane after it left Saturday, demanded $200,000 then leaped to an unknown fate. And his disappearance has made it a mystery to the FBI and for folks like Friday for almost four decades.

“I really hope that they never do catch D.B. Cooper, and in a sense I hope they never solve the crime, because the mystique around it is just wonderful,” Friday said.

Friday’s drawings depict that mystique, from one of Cooper stuck in a windmill with money blowing out, to another of Cooper caught in a sewage plant, to one of Cooper hanging from a tree, with coyotes ready to eat him.

As for Friday’s favorite Cooper drawing, it’s one where Cooper is is holding a big, cartoonish bomb on the airplane and letting people know that he has a bomb.

While Friday won’t admit if he actually saw Cooper, he does have his own theory: one where Cooper was created by a high-stakes poker player who had a bet to pull off a successful hijacking.

But whatever theory you may have, Friday says that’s what makes it fun.

“I don’t approve of the crime itself. I just approve of the mystique and legend,” Friday said.

Friday has drawn nearly 40 illustrations of Cooper as the mystery lives on.

Friday’s drawings have been so important that an FBI agent asked for them and Life magazine ran his cartoons. And every ten years, Friday donates a copy of his Cooper drawings Book titled “A Skyjackers Guide” to the Ariel Store, a tavern, in Woodland, Wash., where a parachute resembling D.B. Cooper’s is spread out on the ceiling.

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