The custody and possible treatment for a 9-year-old airplane stowaway will be discussed at a Hennepin County District Court hearing on Wednesday.
The boy gained national notoriety Oct. 3 when he managed to sneak past Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport security agents and board a Delta Air Lines flight to Las Vegas alone without a ticket. He has since been returned to Minnesota.
After widespread publicity surrounding the boy’s trip, his father, his face covered, held a news conference and pleaded for help in caring for the child.
The boy and his family had met with county social workers in the months preceding his trip, but no action was taken. Documents indicated no signs of physical abuse.
The child, however, had been troubled. He was suspended from school because he was aggressive with other students. He had a history of leaving his home without telling his parents where he was going and not returning for extended periods.
In past forays, the boy managed to gain entry to the pool at the Midtown YMCA on his own. He also was skilled in traveling on light rail transit. The day before his flight, he went to the airport alone, sat down for a restaurant meal and left without paying.
His mother told the county she is willing to work with social services on a plan for the boy.
Wednesday’s hearing will set in motion a plan for getting the boy care. The process could lead to his being removed from his home, but that seems unlikely for now. The boy’s father said last week that he believes he can work with him, provided he gets some help from professionals.
The child cannot face criminal charges because of his age. But he will turn 10 in January, and any transgressions after that could lead to criminal proceedings in the juvenile justice system.
The hearing is to begin at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Juvenile Justice Center. Although the session will be open, seating is limited in the courtroom.