(NBC) - For 40 years, he's been America's most elusive fugitive, but the FBI reportedly has a new lead in the mysterious case of D.B. Cooper.
An FBI official says a tip has led them to a promising new suspect whose fingerprints and DNA are being checked against traces found on old evidence.
A man calling himself Dan Cooper bought a ticket from Portland to Seattle the night before Thanksgiving 1971. During the flight, he claimed to have a bomb and demanded money and parachutes.
After the plane landed in Seattle, he released the passengers, then ordered the crew to take him to Mexico.
Once airborne again, he soon jumped out of the plane with $200,000 in ransom money.
Years later, some of that cash washed ashore along Washington's Columbia River, but Cooper remains elusive.
The author of a new book about the case has doubts the print evidence found on the plane can ever provide a good match.
"The problem with the prints is that there are just too many prints, and the prints that the FBI's been able to find aren't necessarily good ones," said "Skyjack" author Geoffrey Gray.
The FBI does not dispute proving a connection may be tough and admits that both Cooper and the new suspect are likely already dead.
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