9-year-old stowaway will remain in protective custody

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 20, 2013 - 8:11 PM

The boy is making progress but is still struggling, authorities said.

The 9-year-old Minneapolis boy who stowed away on a Delta Air Lines flight to Las Vegas in October will remain in a facility outside his home a while longer.

That decision was reached Friday at a Hennepin County District Court child protective services hearing. Lawyers and social workers met behind closed doors with Judge Joseph Klein for more than an hour, then came to court already having agreed to keep the child where he is.

The boy shot to national notoriety Oct. 3 when he sneaked past federal security agents at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and boarded a flight to Las Vegas by himself without a ticket.

Authorities said at Friday’s five-minute hearing that he has struggled with his behavior, but is making progress.

In brief comments at the hearing, Klein stressed to the boy’s parents that family therapy is a critical part of the court requirement. Both of his parents were in court. They are allowed to visit and call their son.

The boy was not in court, but a lawyer and a legally appointed guardian were present to represent his interests.

During his flight to Las Vegas, flight attendants realized he was an unaccompanied minor who was not listed on the flight manifest. He was detained when the plane landed in Nevada, and was later returned to the Twin Cities.

The implausible trip triggered a major security review at the airport, although only minor adjustments were made.

The boy, who had been suspended from school because of aggressive behavior, had a history of leaving home without telling his parents where he was going.

A trial to determine his permanent custody situation is set for Feb. 7.

 

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

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