Father of 9-Year-Old Stowaway: "Somebody Please Help Me"

Boy's father pleaded for help with managing his son's behavior

By An Phung
|  Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013  |  Updated 2:48 PM CDT
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Dad of 9-Year-Old Stowaway: "Somebody Please Help Me"

The father of the 9-year-old stowaway did not want his face to be shown.

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The father of the 9-year-boy who sneaked onto a Las Vegas-bound plane last week said he had tried to get help for his troubled son but was repeatedly turned away.

"I'm tired of hearing that he's a minor and there is nothing we can do," the father said at a press conference on Wednesday. "There must be something someone can do."

The father appeared at the press conference at the office of anti-violence group MADDADS cloaked in a black hoodie to conceal his identity. He sounded tearful as he expressed his frustration over the incident.

"How do you let a 9-year-child go though security without stopping him?" he said. "He's not a terrorist. He's a 9-year old child. How is that possible?"

The father pleaded for help with managing his child after he said he was repeatedly turned away by organizations because his son was still a minor and did not pose a big enough threat.

He said his boy was "not what's called an honor student. He had his ups and downs at school." The boy was suspended from school for fighting at the time of the airport incident. He was never violent at home, his dad said.

On the night the boy disappeared, the father said he took out the trash and never returned. He said he thought the boy was at a friend's house.

Instead, the boy had skipped past security at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport Thursday without presenting a ticket or boarding pass.

A surveillance video shows the boy chatting with a Delta airline gate agent, who the boy skirted past as soon as the agent appeared distracted, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

He made his way down the jetway, took a seat on the Las Vegas-bound flight and fooled flight attendants with different stories about his parents' whereabouts, a source close to the investigation told NBC News.

The attendants didn't realize what the boy had done until after takeoff, when they radioed Las Vegas to have authorities meet the flight. The boy was taken into custody and put in a foster home, according to a Human Services and Public Health Department email obtained by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The father said on Wednesday that he hasn't communicated with the boy since the incident.

"No one is communicating with me," he said. "I haven't spoken to my son."

The Minneapolis boy, who was reportedly returning home Wednesday or Friday, has a history of misbehavior, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The email by Janine Moore, area director of the county’s Human Services and Public Health Department, also noted that the boy stole a delivery truck at a farmer's market two days before the airport stunt and led police on chase before he was arrested on the highway.

Meanwhile, MADDADS spokesman V.J. Smith, who was at the press conference with the father said that if all the boy's energy could be channeled, "he might become the next president."

The incident has prompted federal and airline authorities to review their policies, according to NBC News.

“Delta continues to work with authorities and look into the circumstances involving an un-ticketed minor boarding an aircraft in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” Delta spokesperson Leslie Scott said.

 

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