Police at Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport said Tuesday that a domestic dispute was behind an incident in which gun components and ammunition were found hidden inside a child's stuffed animals, including a Mickey Mouse.
Authorities later allowed the 4-year-old boy and his father to continue their travel to Detroit after concluding the man didn't pose a risk, authorities said. He told police that he didn't know the parts were inside the stuffed toys.
"It appears to be the result of a domestic dispute," Rhode Island Airport Police Chief Leo Messier said in a statement. "It was jointly investigated by the RI Airport Police, FBI and the RI State Police and it was determined that there was no threat at any time to air safety."
Officials with airport police and the Transportation Security Administration declined to comment further, saying the incident remained under investigation.
The man and his son were headed to Detroit when a TSA officer noticed the disassembled gun components "artfully concealed" inside three stuffed animals. The stuffed animals, including a teddy bear and a rabbit, were inside the child's carry-on bag, which had been put through an X-ray machine as part of normal security screening.
Authorities said a .40-caliber gun was found inside one animal, while a magazine loaded with two .40-caliber rounds and a firing pin were found inside a second animal. Another part of a gun known as a slide was found inside the third animal.
The parts could have been assembled to make a full firearm, authorities said.
The items were confiscated. Police have not released the man's name.
A message left with the FBI late Tuesday was not immediately returned.