‘Always Looking to Make Sure Nobody’s Following Me’: Boeing Whistleblower Fears for Life After Colleagues’ Deaths

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‘I’m not saying that I’m scared, but at the same time, I can’t put a blind eye to the reality of what could be,’ says Spirit AeroSystems inspector Santiago Paredes.

A man blowing the whistle on manufacturing problems at a Boeing Company contractor says he’s constantly looking over his shoulder after two fellow whistleblowers also suing the company died under mysterious circumstances.

Spirit AeroSystems inspector Santiago Paredes told The Independent he doesn’t believe the conspiracy theories about assassins being hired by the airline, however, he says he’s still cautious.

“I don’t think so,” Paredes replied when asked if he thought anything nefarious occurred to the two whistleblowers who died in the past three months.

“But, you know, I’m always looking behind my mirror to make sure nobody’s car’s following me,” he added.

“I’m not saying that I’m scared, but at the same time, I can’t put a blind eye to the reality of what could be. I have to prepare myself for that,” Paredes stated.

Paredes spoke to The Independent shortly before attending a celebration of life ceremony for 45-year-old Joshua Dean, a former Boeing manager who’d called attention to issues with the company’s 737 Max airplanes.

Paredes is represented by Brian Knowles, the same attorney who represented Dean and deceased whistleblower John Barnett, asserting that his latter client was not suicidal.

Following Dean’s death, Knowles reportedly confided in Paredes that it “felt like we were in a battle and we were losing people.”

“I was in a place where I started to freak out about what we were doing – if it was even the right thing,” Paredes told The Independent. “It’s discouraging to lose people – not just friends, but friends who are with you in this battle.”

He added his mother’s also afraid for his safety, saying, “My mom has been scared… I’ve been like, ‘Nothing’s going to happen. It’s going to be all right. This is something I’ve got to do … somebody’s gotta do it.’”

The Independent writes Paredes had anonymously worked with Dean on a shareholder lawsuit last year, but he decided to go public following Dean’s death to continue highlighting problems with fuselage production.

Paredes went to CBS News earlier this month to expose how he was ordered to “play down” issues he noticed.

⚠️✈️ 𝐀𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐁𝐨𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐥 𝐂𝐁𝐒 𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐭𝐨 “𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐬”

Santiago Paredes, a former quality manager for Spirit AeroSystems, says… pic.twitter.com/83TQ6dpiau

— HOT SPOT (@HotSpotHotSpot) May 9, 2024

The Independent has more:

Paredes spent more than a decade as an inspector and team leader at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems before leaving in 2022 after repeatedly issuing warnings to superiors about quality control failings – which at one point resulted in his demotion, he says. Spirit AeroSystems — not to be confused with Spirit Airlines — manufactures plane components, including fuselages and wing parts, and Boeing is its largest customer.

Dean died on April 30 after a staph infection quickly progressed to pneumonia.

Before his death, Dean had told NPR earlier this year about how people shedding light on issues at the company were being retaliated against, saying, “I think they were sending out a message to anybody else. If you are too loud, we will silence you.”

Dean’s death came just months after the mysterious death of Boeing whistleblower John Barnett, a former Boeing worker who sounded the alarm on problems he observed at Boeing’s North Charleston plant and was found dead in his car in a hotel parking lot in Charleston, South Carolina last March.

A Charleston Police Department investigation concluded over the weekend that Barnett died by suicide.

CNN reports: “The investigation found that Barnett was shot in the head at close range and the weapon was found in his right hand. There was also a notebook found in the front seat of the car that showed signs that “he was going through a period of serious personal distress,” according to a media release about the police investigation.”

In addition to Parades and his two deceased colleagues, there are reportedly 9 other Boeing whistleblowers also spotlighting issues with the company.

Boeing’s hitman after being told there are 10 more whistleblowers pic.twitter.com/fC3RO2aWS1

— Not Jerome Powell (@alifarhat79) May 6, 2024

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