Officials seek protection for 9-year-old stowaway

AP News
Posted: Oct 11, 2013 5:55 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota officials filed a petition Friday to intervene in the life of a 9-year-old boy who evaded airport security and slipped onto a flight to Las Vegas.

The petition filed in Hennepin County juvenile court argues that the boy — who also has stolen a car and repeatedly run away from home — needs either state protection or services. According to the county's website, child protection or services could include anything from removing a child from a home to parenting classes.

The boy's father said earlier this week that he and his fiance have tried to get their son help, saying he has behavioral issues that have gotten him suspended from school and routinely leaves the house without permission. He said officials told him they couldn't intervene because the boy hadn't done anything bad enough.

"I'm tired of people saying he's a minor, there's nothing we can do. There's something somebody can do," the father, who declined to give his name, said during a news conference.

A current phone listing for the couple couldn't be found Friday.

The petition, filed by the county's human services and public health departments, said the boy's mother supports an evaluation to see if her son should be placed elsewhere, but that she had previously declined community-based family assessment services.

The boy took a light-rail train to the airport on Oct. 3, blended in with a family to get past security, slipped past a gate agent and took an empty seat on a Delta Air Lines flight. The flight crew turned him over to police in Las Vegas, where he was still being held by child protective services on Friday. Authorities said it was unclear when he would return to Minnesota.

A day earlier, the boy also had gone to the airport, where he took a bag from the carousel and ordered food at a restaurant but left without paying. On Oct. 1, he stole a delivery truck from downtown Minneapolis and drove along an interstate, damaging other vehicles, the petition said. He was uncooperative with police and released to his mother.

According to the petition, the boy has a pattern of leaving home, sometimes overnight and in one case for up to three days. On Sept. 18, he was put on a police hold after he was found in a local YWCA unsupervised and refused to say who he was.

"The case was closed without a finding of maltreatment as there was not preponderance of evidence that neglect had occurred," the petition said.


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