The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A United passenger said he found a bomb threat in the bathroom. Feds say he wrote it.

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Somewhere in the air over the Rocky Mountains, a young man walked out of a bathroom and called over a flight attendant.

He pointed to the toilet seat cover dispenser and a handwritten note on top of it:

THERE IS BOMBS ON UA 231

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LAND

United Airlines flight crew rushed from the bathroom to the front of the plane Monday evening, passengers told CBS4.

The pilot called Denver International Airport. FBI and police scrambled while the plane dove in, fast.

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It taxied to an isolated patch of airfield, far from the terminal. Passengers who had boarded in San Diego now watched lights rushing toward them across the dark airfield, according to CBS4.

Then police boarded. And dogs.

They would find no bomb on the plane. But that evening, in an airport police office, interrogators would learn quite a bit about the 20-year-old man who reported the note.

Cameron E. Korth had complained of a panic attack after landing, according to an FBI affidavit.  An agent pulled up his criminal history and found arrests for reporting false emergencies.

Korth had once been a literal poster child. As a teenager in 2011, he spent 40 hours synchronizing Christmas lights to music outside his Utah home to raise money for a sick child’s trip to Disney World.

That earned him a Good Samaritan Hero award from the American Red Cross.

A string of traffic violations and arrests followed the honor, according to public records and the FBI.

In the airport, according to the affidavit, Korth told interrogators he’d fallen on bad times:

An affair with a drug-using stripper had ruined his health, he said: He was taking medication for various conditions, and his father was in prison for embezzlement.

He told police he was working in yards and shoveling snow to support his mother, brother and sister, according to the affidavit.

As Korth wrote out a statement, an agent thought his handwriting looked a lot like the bomb note.

An unruly couple forced their flight to turn back. Police boarded, and passengers cheered.

“I won’t say I wrote the threat, but I won’t say I didn’t,” Korth said, according to the FBI.

And then, the agent said, he confessed.

“When asked why he wrote the note, Korth stated he was trying to get help for his problems,” the affidavit says.

He told agents, “It was an impulsive act with no thought process behind it.”

Korth has been charged with maliciously conveying false information and could spend 10 years in federal prison if convicted.

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