In a disturbing turn of events, Estes Carter Thompson III, a 36-year-old American Airlines flight attendant, has been arrested by federal agents in Virginia on allegations of recording multiple young girls in airplane bathrooms. The arrest follows an incident from September of the previous year, where Thompson was reportedly caught red-handed by a vigilant 14-year-old girl. The young passenger, whom Thompson allegedly attempted to secretly film in a plane restroom, made the shocking discovery of an iPhone affixed to a toilet seat.
To further conceal the device, a large sticker indicating a broken seat was strategically placed. The arrest raises serious concerns about passenger safety and underscores the need for thorough investigations into such allegations within the airline industry.
FBI Arrests American Airlines Flight Attendant on Disturbing Charges
On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested 36-year-old Estes Carter Thompson III, an American Airlines flight attendant, on serious charges related to sexual exploitation of children and possession of child pornography depicting a prepubescent minor. According to prosecutors, Thompson was apprehended following an investigation that revealed troubling evidence, including videos of multiple underage girls in the airplane facilities. The disturbing content allegedly involved girls aged 7, 9, 11, and 14, recorded in the restrooms of planes where Thompson was employed.
Alleged Incident Details on American Airlines Flight
The troubling incident involving Estes Carter Thompson III unfolded aboard an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Boston, Massachusetts on September 2, 2023. Thompson, employed as a flight attendant, is accused of attempting to film a 14-year-old girl in the airplane restroom during this journey. According to Fox59 reports, Thompson approached the girl while she awaited an available bathroom in the main cabin. Subsequently, he escorted her to an unoccupied first-class bathroom. Before the girl entered, Thompson purportedly informed her of the need to wash his hands and claimed that the toilet seat was broken. He then briefly entered the bathroom, raising concerns about potential misconduct and breach of trust.
Discovery of Red Flags in Alleged Misconduct
Following the flight attendant’s brief exit from the restroom, the young girl entered and made a disturbing discovery. Red stickers, affixed underneath the toilet seat lid, bore handwritten messages that raised immediate concerns. The messages read, “INOPERATIVE CATERING EQUIPMENT,” “REMOVE FROM SERVICE,” and “SEAT BROKEN.” These red flags, indicating potential attempts to conceal illicit activity, added an alarming dimension to the situation.
Critical Moment Unveils Alleged Misconduct
In a crucial moment, as the 14-year-old attempted to flush the toilet, she made a startling discovery—an iPhone discreetly positioned behind the red stickers. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the young girl took a photograph capturing the iPhone and the stickers before leaving the restroom. Subsequently, Estes Carter Thompson III, the accused flight attendant, allegedly entered the bathroom immediately after her exit.
Sensing the urgency of the matter, the victim shared the incriminating photo with her parents. In response, her mother hurried to the lavatory, only to find both the stickers and the iPhone conspicuously absent, adding a layer of intrigue to the unfolding events.
Swift Response and Confrontation In-Flight
Upon being alerted by the parents, the captain took immediate action, contacting authorities on the ground in Boston to address the unfolding situation. Simultaneously, the girl’s father confronted Estes Carter Thompson III, the accused flight attendant, regarding the alarming discovery. In a concerning turn of events, Thompson reportedly locked himself in the bathroom with his phone for approximately five minutes before the plane’s scheduled landing.
Digital Evidence Unveils Disturbing Recordings by Flight Attendant
In a pivotal development in the investigation into Estes Carter Thompson III, law enforcement officials requested access to the flight attendant’s iPhone on the ground. Initially suspecting that Thompson may have attempted to erase potential evidence by restoring the phone to factory settings, police embarked on a thorough examination. Contrary to initial concerns, a search of Thompson’s phone’s iCloud uncovered deeply disturbing content. It was revealed that Thompson had recorded instances of young girls using the plane’s restroom on at least four different occasions.
Shocking Revelations: Disturbing Content and Corroborative Physical Evidence Discovered
In a deeply distressing turn of events, law enforcement officials, as reported by Fox59, uncovered a series of alarming findings during their investigation into Estes Carter Thompson III. Shockingly, more than 50 photos of a 9-year-old were discovered, including inappropriate images capturing her behind and close-ups taken while she was sleeping during a flight. This revelation adds a deeply troubling dimension to the case, raising serious concerns about the nature and extent of Thompson’s alleged misconduct.
AI-Generated Child Sex Abuse Material Unearthed
The gravity of the situation escalated further with the discovery of AI-generated child sex abuse material on Thompson’s personal belongings. This reprehensible finding intensifies the charges against the flight attendant, underscoring the urgency of addressing such heinous actions within the bounds of the law.
Stickers in Suitcase Validate Witness Account
In a corroborative development, a search of Thompson’s suitcase unveiled the presence of the stickers described by the 14-year-old girl who had witnessed the alleged incident. This tangible evidence aligns with the account provided by the young witness, providing further credibility to her statements and reinforcing the case against Thompson.
Immediate Response and Suspension: American Airlines Addresses Allegations Against Flight Attendant
In the wake of the disturbing September incident involving Estes Carter Thompson III, American Airlines swiftly responded by removing him from service, a suspension that has endured to the present day. The airline, acknowledging the gravity of the allegations, emphasized that the reported actions do not align with its values or its fundamental mission of prioritizing the well-being of passengers. In a statement, an American Airlines spokesperson conveyed the airline’s unwavering commitment to taking these allegations seriously, highlighting the cooperation extended to law enforcement authorities in their investigation.
Estes Carter Thompson III, the American Airlines flight attendant implicated in the disturbing allegations, now confronts serious legal consequences. If convicted, Thompson could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison, coupled with the potential for a lifetime of supervised release. Additionally, he may be subject to a substantial fine of up to $250,000.