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Father of plane stowaway requested help for troubled son

By Steve Karnowski

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:43 p.m. HST, Oct 09, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS >>  The father of a 9-year-old boy who evaded security to stow away on a flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas told reporters he's been frustrated in his efforts to get help for his troubled son.

The father spoke at a news conference today on condition of anonymity to protect his son. Sobbing at times, he said his son had a history of misbehavior but officials had told him they couldn't help because his son had not done anything bad enough yet.

"I'm tired of people saying he's a minor, there's nothing we can do. There's something somebody can do," said the dad, wearing a hoodie and baseball cap pulled low to hide his face.

The boy took a light-rail train to the airport last Thursday and blended in with a family to get past security, slipped past a gate agent and took an empty seat on the Delta Air Lines flight. The flight crew turned him over to police in Las Vegas, where he was still being held Wednesday.

The father spoke at the office of MAD DADS, where the community group's president, V.J. Smith, said county child protection workers told him the boy will be returned to Minnesota and reunited with his family Friday, not kept in custody. Smith added that the county would "wrap some services around the family."

The father said this son had been suspended from school for fighting before he slipped away Wednesday by saying he was taking out the trash. He said he and the boy's mother presumed he then went to a friend's house. She called police the next day, after he didn't come home, and learned he had been arrested in Las Vegas.

"How would you let a 9-year-old child go through a security check without stopping and questioning him? How can that be?" he asked.

The father confirmed his son was the same 9-year-old who stole a delivery truck in Minneapolis and crashed it into a suburban Edina police squad car two days before stowing away. He choked up as he recalled discussing the incident with an officer who brought the boy home.

"I asked the officer, 'Please sir can you go upstairs with me, watch me whup his butt?' The officer told me, 'If I see you hit your son we're going to have to lock you up.' I said, 'Sir, what can I do? I've been asking for help, but there's no one that's helping me.' I'm in what you call double jeopardy," he said.

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dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
9 year old takes out the trash and doesn't come back. And you wait till the next day to call the police? Being unsupervised at all hours must be a regular thing. No wonder he's now out of control. Reminds me of some of the young kids I see just "hanging out" without their parents at the malls and on the streets. Great parenting. Oh yeah, then blame the schools for not "fixing" them.
on October 9,2013 | 07:26PM
Nevadan wrote:
Lock up both parents
on October 9,2013 | 09:21PM
RNC404 wrote:
When do we allow are children the right to go anywhere they want without permission, especially one as young as nine years old. Were they only worried the morning after before deciding to call police? hmmmm Hopefully the wrap around services the parents will receive from the MAD DADS Organization will center around parenting skills. OR department of human services should step in and take the child away. Something definitely smells with these parents and it's called BS!
on October 9,2013 | 09:45PM
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