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Woman claiming to be D.B. Cooper's niece gives TV interview

"Credible" lead in D.B. Cooper hijacking case, says FBI
Artist's sketch of the skyjacker known as 'Dan Cooper' or 'D.B. Cooper' AP Photo/FBI

(CBS/AP) OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma woman Marla Cooper claims she's certain one of her uncles was famed hijacker D.B. Cooper.

Cooper told ABC News in an interview broadcast Wednesday that she is certain her uncle Lynn Doyle Cooper was the man who was never caught after hijacking a Northwest Orient plane in Nov. 24, 1971 and parachuting from it with $200,000. She said she made the connection after piecing together remarks made by her father in 1995 and her mother in 2009. She did not say why she chose to speak out now.

The FBI recently said it is following a "credible" lead on a new suspect in the case who died 10 years ago, but won't say if the tip can be traced to Marla Cooper.

"My two uncles, who I only saw at holiday time, were planning something very mischievous. I was watching them using some very expensive walkie-talkies that they had purchased," she said on "Good Morning America."

Marla Cooper told ABC she heard her uncle say at the time, "'We did it, our money problems are over, we hijacked an airplane,"' and that just before he died in 1995 her father mentioned his brother and said, "'Don't you remember he hijacked that airplane?"'

In 2009, she said, her mother made a similar comment that raised her suspicions again.

Cooper told ABC she contacted the FBI "as soon as I was sure that what I was remembering were real memories."

Marla Cooper did not discuss on ABC how or when she reached out to the FBI, but said she recently provided investigators with a guitar strap belonging to her uncle to be tested for fingerprints.

The print was not suitable for fingerprint analysis, according to investigators. They are now working with family members to identify other items that can be analyzed.

Federal investigators have checked more than 1,000 leads since the suspect bailed out on Nov. 24, 1971, over the Pacific Northwest. The man who jumped gave his name as Dan Cooper and claimed shortly after takeoff in Portland, Ore. that he had a bomb, leading the flight crew to land the plane in Seattle. That's where passengers were exchanged for parachutes and ransom money.

The flight then took off for Mexico with the suspect and flight crew on board before the man parachuted from the plane.