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Late Boeing Whistleblower's Family Friend Says He Warned Her About His Death Being Made To Look Like Suicide

Late Boeing Whistleblower's Family Friend Says He Warned Her About His Death Being Made To Look Like Suicide

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

A close family friend of the man who died — reportedly by suicide — in the midst of giving depositions about alleged quality control and manufacturing problems at Boeing is speaking out.

As you may recall, we reported last week on the death of John Barnett. The Louisiana native had worked in quality control for Boeing in South Carolina for years. Near the end of his career, he started reporting to management about alleged manufacturing issues in the airplanes the company was making in their South Carolina plant. Barnett then claimed the company retaliated against him when he blew the whistle, leading to his retirement and then several years of litigation.

He had been giving depositions on that matter in Charleston earlier this month when he was unexpectedly found dead. Though the initial report to the media was that of a possible suicide, Barnett’s lawyers were adamant that his death be thoroughly investigated, as it came in the middle of his move to expose alleged major malpractice and airplane safety issues at Boeing. Charleston cops have promised to investigate it fully. But already, one family friend is suggesting foul play.

Related: Erika Jayne Thought About Suicide ‘Many Times’ Amid Tom Girardi Embezzlement Battle

On Thursday, WCIV interviewed a woman who would only refer to herself as Jennifer. She told the South Carolina-based news outlet that her family and Barnett’s family had been friends for years back in Louisiana. John had recently retired back there to look after his mom, and thus was around home once again:

“I know John because his mom and my mom are best friends. Over the years, get-togethers, birthdays, celebrations and whatnot. We’ve all got together and talked.”

One day a couple months ago, Jennifer needed help with something at her house. She said that she called John, and he came over to assist. While he was there, they started talking about his upcoming depositions in Charleston against the aerospace giant. She recalled their conversation:

“He wasn’t concerned about safety because I asked him. I said, ‘Aren’t you scared?’ And he said, ‘No, I ain’t scared, but if anything happens to me, it’s not suicide.'”


Then, Jennifer added:

“I know that he did not commit suicide. There’s no way. He loved life too much. He loved his family too much. He loved his brothers too much to put them through what they’re going through right now. … That’s why they made it look like a suicide.”

So f**king chilling. As far as Jennifer is concerned, somebody allegedly “didn’t like what he had to say” and wanted to “shut him up” before the depositions could play out. The final time she saw him was at her father’s funeral in late February. John was one of the pallbearers — which speaks to how close the two families were. They were so close, in fact, that Jennifer and her family often referred to John as ‘Mitch,’ which was his middle name. Using that name, Jennifer concluded:

“I think everybody is in disbelief and can’t believe it. I don’t care what they say, I know that Mitch didn’t do that.”

Here is more on Jennifer’s claims (below):

FWIW, the retaliation case against Boeing will still go forward after Barnett’s death. Per ABC 15 News, the late whistleblower’s attorney is still planning on going to trial against the company in June. And John was able to complete several depositions before his death, so there may be enough there to make a case. Regardless, this new allegation from Barnett’s family friend is really, really unsettling. Ugh…

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, help is available. Consider contacting the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, by calling, texting, or chatting, or go to

[Image via ABC 4 News/YouTube]

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Mar 18, 2024 08:10am PDT