9-year-old secretly filmed by flight attendant while using restroom on airplane

A 9-year-old from Austin was secretly filmed while using the restroom on an airplane and the man accused of doing this is now in federal custody. The man is reportedly responsible for several recording incidents.

The child's mother, who spoke anonymously, says she received a call from the FBI that revealed the unthinkable.

"When they got here, I basically had to recognize my daughter from a photo that they were showing me," the mom says.

She says the FBI told her that her daughter "was being videotaped in the lavatory" of an American Airlines plane heading to Los Angeles from Austin in January 2023.

The man who authorities say did it was a flight attendant on the plane.

"She remembered the flight attendant, and she remembered him telling her, wait a second, I have something to clean up. Somebody made a mess, and she waited there, and she went to use the restroom. And when she came out, she said he was still waiting there and, you know, opened the door for her," the mom says.


36-year-old Estes Carter Thompson III is believed to have done the same thing nine months later when a 14-year-old used the bathroom on a flight.

"To know that there is a monster that's preying on children. And especially when it's your own child, you know, I, I couldn't protect her. I didn't know to even protect her," the mom says.

Prosecutors say  hundreds of images of child sexual abuse generated through artificial intelligence were found stored on Thompson's iCloud account as well as images from a total of five girls ranging in age from 7 to 14.

"I want other parents to know, like to definitely, you know, check out every place that their child is going, be aware, you know, and and definitely be their voice," the mom says.

The families are suing Thompson and the airline.

"It's for negligence that American Airlines knew or should have known what was happening. And they could have taken steps to prevent it. And also, you know, how they handled it, generally in our view, it was pretty incompetent," says Paul Llewellyn, an attorney representing the victims.


Court documents show that American Airlines responded to the lawsuit saying the harm was caused by the 9-year-old's "own fault and negligence" and by her "use of the compromised lavatory which she knew or should have known contained a visible and illuminated recording device."

American Airlines later amended its response saying its outside legal counsel made an error.

In a statement sent to FOX 7 Austin, the airline says: "We do not believe this child is at fault and we take the allegations involving a former team member very seriously."

This civil lawsuit now enters the discovery phase. 

As for the criminal case, Thompson faces 15 to 30 years in prison for attempted sexual exploitation of children and 20 years for possessing images of child sexual abuse depicting a minor.

"I don't have anything to say to this man. I know he doesn't deserve that. He deserves to be exactly where he is behind bars. You know, he does not deserve to come out into this world because I feel he's a monster," the mom says.

Thompson has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on July 1.