Woman who has made repeated attempts to sneak on planes blames 'whistleblower trauma syndrome'

A woman accused of trying to sneak aboard multiple flights without a ticket in California and arrested at a Phoenix airport earlier this week said Thursday that she suffers from an unrecognized mental illness.

Marilyn Jean Hartman also said she believes authorities have purposely allowed her to be a plane stowaway so they can arrest her.

Hartman, 62, gave teary, often rambling explanations for her behavior to reporters at a Phoenix jailhouse.

She said she's homeless, suffers from "whistleblower trauma syndrome" and has been medically diagnosed with major depression.

Hartman said her last psychological evaluation occurred about a year ago. Phoenix police are requesting a mental-health evaluation for her, but a jail official said a court order is needed.

She was arrested Tuesday near baggage claim at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on suspicion of criminal trespass. Hartman was loitering around a checkpoint and not in possession of an airline ticket, police said.

She was recently ordered to spend 117 days in a jail for violating probation by returning to Los Angeles International Airport, but she was released Aug. 16 because of overcrowding at the detention facility in Lynwood, California.

Hartman, who has made previous attempts to sneak aboard flights at other airports, was arrested Aug. 4 for taking a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles without a ticket. Her boarding status was discovered once the plane landed in Los Angeles.

At Mineta San Jose International Airport, Hartman tried at least three times to get to a plane before she finally went past a security screener who was busy checking a family's documents, law enforcement officials said.

She later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of willfully and unlawfully entering Los Angeles as a stowaway on an aircraft and was sentenced to two years of probation.

In February, Hartman was sentenced to 18 months' probation in San Mateo County after being arrested for attempting to board three Hawaii-bound flights at San Francisco International Airport on three separate days.