Authorities said 144 outdated oxygen generator canisters were removed from another plane and placed onto Flight 592. Those canisters had been incorrectly listed as “empty” and did not have the required safety caps on, investigators said. They said the canisters are what ignited in the cargo area of the plane. Investigators said Valenzuela-Reyes, who worked for SabreTech, the airline’s maintenance contractor, had a part in packaging the canisters and allowing them onboard.
In 1999, a federal jury ruled SabreTech recklessly allowed hazardous materials to be transported and failed to train its employees. While two other SabreTech employees were acquitted on charges of conspiracy and lying on repair records, Valenzuela-Reyes went on the run, according to investigators.
Investigators said Valenzuela-Reyes has connections to Atlanta, where his ex-wife and children live, as well as to Santiago, Chile, where he has family. He may be using a fake name, the FBI said.
“We’ve tried over the years to find him,” Fruge said. “It bothers me. I’ve lived and breathed it for many, many years.”
She said the FBI hopes the new reward and posters will lead to more tips and eventually his arrest.
“We want closure,” she said.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Valenzuela-Reyes is asked to contact the FBI at 800-225-5324.