In 2011 we were invited to do a presentation at the National Symposium on D B Cooper in Portland, Oregon. It was the 40th anniversary of the skyjacking. We have used the notes from that presentation to provide an overview of Barb's Story.
The presentation was divided into 4 sections, the Intro Bobby's Life, Barbara's Life, and the Skyjacking.
Barbara Dayton was the first person in the state of Washington to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The experimental surgery was performed at the University of Washington in 1969 when Bobby was 43.
When we met Barb she was a loner, working at the Suzzulo Library at the University of Washington as a research clerk. She spent every weekend at Thun Field working on and flying her Cessna 140. Once we were able to break down her barriers, she became a close friend, telling us several amazing stories. She asked us several times to help her write a book in the hopes it would help people be more understanding of, as she put it, “freaks like her”. But life can be so hectic, we kept putting her off.
After Barb died, we were nagged by our unfulfilled promise, but we didn’t think we had enough details to write a book. We did some research on the internet and were able to track down her remaining family. They agreed to supply us with pictures, diaries, letters, and the psychological evaluations from before and after the surgery.
Barb had confessed to us that she was D.B. Cooper, but initially we weren’t going to include that in our book. However, when we met the family, we found that they also were suspicious that Barb was Cooper. As we got to know them, we became convinced that it was important to try to investigate the possibility. It was evident that the family did not condone what the skyjacker had done, but it was also evident that the investigation would provide some sort of closure for the family. It would be the ultimate proof of how strong the turmoil inside of Barb was and explain away some of the hurt she had caused by deserting her family to become a female.
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