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Father of Hawaiian Air stowaway arrives in isles to retrieve his son

By Oskar Garcia

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:18 a.m. HST, Apr 30, 2014

The father of a 15-year-old boy who stowed away in a jetliner’s wheel well arrived in Hawaii on Tuesday from Cali­for­nia.

Spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld of the Hawaii Department of Human Services said Abdil­ahi Yusuf was in Hono­lulu, but said the department’s child welfare unit would not be disclosing any information on the release of Yahya Abdi because of privacy concerns and confidentiality.

Rosenfeld had said previously that Abdi was in a Hono­lulu hospital after being transferred to state custody from Maui, where he was questioned by FBI and airport officials following the April 20 flight.

A spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in San Francisco who had been speaking for the family declined comment beyond reiterating a statement earlier this week that Yusuf wanted to see his son soon.

Abdi survived a 51⁄2-hour flight from San Jose, Calif., to Maui after hopping an airport fence and climbing into the wheel well of a Boeing 767. He has not spoken publicly about the ordeal that raised questions about airport security and revealed the personal family drama of a Somali immigrant struggling to adjust to life in the United States.

Abdi, who lives in Santa Clara, Calif., with his father, stepmother and siblings, had been unhappy in Cali­for­nia and desperately missed his mother, according to those who know his family.

His mother lives in a refugee camp in eastern Ethiopia. Ubah Moham­med Abdule told the Associated Press that the boy longed to see her but couldn’t because his father told him she was dead and didn’t allow contact.

The boy’s sister Najma Abdi said Monday that the birth mother was lying and that the father didn’t take the children away from her or mistreat them.

Yusuf said in a statement Sunday that his son was “struggling adjusting to life” in America.

“Our situation was aggravated by our displacement in Africa for many years after fleeing our home country of Somalia because of war conditions. As a result, my son was not able to receive any formal education before we immigrated to the United States,” the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Fati Le­jeune Kaba, said an acquaintance at the mother’s camp contacted Abdi and his siblings late last year with news their mother was alive.

“The kids were very disappointed and ended up in a fight with their father, and asked him to send them back to where their mother lived,” Kaba said. “The father still insisted that their mother had died.”

“At that point, Yahya Abdi didn’t believe that his mother had died, and that’s when he resorted to do everything he can to go and find her,” Kaba said.

Yusuf said he is “excited to bring him back home to his family in Cali­for­nia.” The family was “deeply concerned” when the boy went missing and was relieved to hear he was safe, Yusuf said.

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peanutgallery wrote:
Great job DHS! The kid belongs in jail, and the father; who knows, but hey! Let's fly him out here so they can get back together! What a crock!
on April 30,2014 | 04:02AM
Bdpapa wrote:
9 days later, what a piece of work!
on April 30,2014 | 06:13AM
aomohoa wrote:
Would a father that cares take that long to get here? Is there more to this story?
on April 30,2014 | 09:55AM
Bdpapa wrote:
I'm sure there is!
on April 30,2014 | 02:21PM
kamehame wrote:
a free vacation, lodging and meals included, not to mention a new wardrobe.
on April 30,2014 | 06:41AM
McCully wrote:
Nice vacation and all the perks they're receiving. I bet if I did the say thing and landed in Cali, I would spending my time in jail.
on April 30,2014 | 06:53AM
jmarie wrote:
This is whats wrong with America! send this kid along with all of the family back to where they crawled from. And while your at it take Mr. Barry O. with you!
on April 30,2014 | 06:53AM
kauailawyer wrote:
Stick dad with a bill for all of the services provided to his son by Hawaii taxpayers.
on April 30,2014 | 07:06AM
aomohoa wrote:
Do you really think he can afford that. It was a stupid thing the 15 year old did, but he is lucky he is alive. I hope he has a awakening and does something with his life.
on April 30,2014 | 09:57AM
sak wrote:
At 15 years of age he has already decided he wants to live as a Refugee in a blanket covered stick tent living of public assistance, not having to go to school, and have to listen to his father and step mother. Whah-Whah-Whah, sounds like your typical spoiled B R A T!
on April 30,2014 | 04:59PM
environmental_lady wrote:
If feel sorry for the boy if he doesn't want to return with his dad. What a sad story.
on April 30,2014 | 07:21AM
Workingrl wrote:
Such insensitivity in these comments. This is a troubled young boy with a tragic past. His father has been lying to him about his mother -- who can blame him for wanting to find her? sure he picked a stupid and dangerous way, however he needs help not punishment.
on April 30,2014 | 07:47AM
slacker47 wrote:
Something fishy about the dad and the stepmother, with the real mother back in Africa.Dont release the kid,until the mother testifies in court--yes ,I know hawaii will have to fly her here,but the dad cab driver sounds sketchy.
on April 30,2014 | 08:00AM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
Movie and book deal on the way.
on April 30,2014 | 08:48AM
iwanaknow wrote:
Dad, spend a few coins here in the Islands so we can get some of our money back?.................we'll ask you 10 years from now, what really happened?...........til then, Americans, please open your hearts and wallets............we love good stories.
on April 30,2014 | 11:06AM
glenn57377 wrote:
I think the father is abusing the kids. It's worth looking into to find out. First, the young man didn't know anything about geography if he was looking for his mother. Second, scientists need to discover his genetic makeup to discover why he didn't freeze to death or run out of oxygen. Third, he needs a knot jerked in his okole for endangering the lives of everyone on that plane, including his own. The kids love their mother and should have the opportunity to see her. The father needs an attitude adjustment for lying to the kids and saying their mother is dead. Just a tragedy any way you look at it. This is a charity case, not a taxpayer case. I understand the family is Muslim? Ok, Muslim community, step in and take care of your own.
on April 30,2014 | 11:08AM
808noelani wrote:
Still haven't heard what he is being treated for at Kapiolani Medical Center. Doctors need to justify allowing anyone to stay in a hospital or they are released. But the only thing I've heard is that he is being held in protective custody by DHS. Does he have any injuries preventing him from leaving anytime soon?
on April 30,2014 | 12:01PM
pgkemp wrote:
on April 30,2014 | 12:20PM
lajekal wrote:
Why is this criminal a celebrity?
on April 30,2014 | 12:52PM
sailfish1 wrote:
Did the Dad pay his own way here? Make sure the Dad also pays for all the medical services given to his son. There are plenty of unhappy people who miss their mother but that is life and taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for their errant behavior.
on April 30,2014 | 02:50PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Ten years from now we can ask SA, "What ever happened to...?"
on April 30,2014 | 03:28PM
gobows wrote:
can we fly them both back in the tire wells?
on April 30,2014 | 03:57PM
beachluvr wrote:
What the boy did was wrong, but he's just a kid who is trying to be with his mom. He shouldn't be released to his dad. An investigation should be done. How can the dad keep lying that the mom is dead when she's not. Someone needs to listen to this boy and help him out.
on April 30,2014 | 07:07PM
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