p.2-3 of The Franklin Cover-Up by John DeCamp wrote:It happened at 2:30 a.m. on July 11, when Gary and AJ. were flying back to Lincoln, Nebraska from Chicago. A farmer in Lee County, Illinois reported that he saw a flash of light, heard an explosion, and saw a plane plunge to the ground. The Caradoris were killed, the plane's wreckage scattered over three-quarters of a mile. The eyewitness account of a flash of light and an explosion was on the early edition of television news in Nebraska, but got pulled from subsequent reports, which said that the plane exploded on impact.
Indeed, no news reports I could find mentioned a flash of light at all. And despite the initial finding that the plane broke up in midair, investigators still somehow concluded that the main damage to the plane occurred on impact. The NTSB, which predictably concluded there was no foul play, only said that the wings snapped off, which is certainly different from the whole plane breaking apart in midair. In spite of the conflicting stories, I could find no evidence backing up DeCamp's assertion that initial news reports mentioned a flash of light.
So I decided to see if the investigative files from the Lee County Sheriff's Department, the main investigative agency at the scene, could resolve the question. Early witness statements from people like Cameron would most likely be found there. Today, they responded with several pages of records, split into two PDF documents: doc 1 and doc 2. A couple interesting things are here.
Go to page 20 of doc 1, and you can see farmer Harold Cameron describe seeing "a large flash straight south of the residence over the top of a shed" right after "he had heard an explosion". If the flash of light was above his shed, it definitely seems to have been in midair. On that same page, another witness appears to substantiate that an explosion and a flash of light occurred. But on pages 25-26 of the document, a witness named Aaron A. Mobarak tells a different story. He saw a mushroom cloud and flames shoot up from the ground, but no midair flash of light. At least twice, he insists that there were no flames in the air. According to his acount, Mobarak was not on the scene in the early morning during the crash, but called later in the day after hearing about a plane crash on the news. Given his repeated insistence that there was no midair explosion and the discrepancy with Cameron who was actually in the farm where the plane crashed, I can't help but wonder if his late witness statement was at the behest of someone (FBI?) to contradict an inconvenient fact about Caradori's plane exploding. The FBI was the prime-mover in the cover-up, after all. This is just a theory, though, and I'd be curious to see what others think about the flash of light.
As for the FBI, mentions of them show up in doc 2, around page 33. I can't read all of this handwriting, but it seems like they're making notes about who Caradori was and what he was doing. I've noticed phrases like "No help from FBI because they have [unknown word] info", followed by "* Watch the FBI" and "Tried to work w/ FBI but backed away because they [unknown words]". It's unclear to me whether these are the words of Caradori or the Lee County officers. Officially, the FBI was not supposed to be involved with this crash at all unless there was foul play. But when Nick Bryant talked to Harold Cameron, he said that Lee County sheriff's deputies discussed from the very start how they needed to call in the FBI.
Finally, there's an interesting reference in light of a piece of untrue Franklin lore about Caradori's crash. A lot of people and websites claim the crash occurred in Aurora IL, where Omaha police chief Robert Wadman (an accused pedophile in Franklin) had recently left Omaha for to become their new police chief. The plane did not crash in Aurora, especially considering that it's in an entirely different county from Lee County. Nonetheless, it's interesting to note that Caradori was in contact with Aurora Airport during his flight. And look at one of the notes on page 32 of doc 2: "Chief Wadman Omaha in Aurora Illinois - Chief of Police". Was Caradori interested and/or concerned about Wadman's presence in Illinois, and the officers were noting it down? Or did the officers themselves have questions of their own after coming across Wadman's name?
I'd be interested in people's perspectives on those issues, or anything else of note in these documents.