Nine-year-old stowaway removed from home while the family undergoes therapy

Categories: MSP Airport, Media
stowaway_pressconference.jpg
WCCO
Screenshot of Oct. 9 press conference with the father of the nine-year-old stowaway and family spokesman, V.J. Smith
A judge ruled Wednesday that the nine-year-old boy who hopped a flight to Last Vegas without a ticket will be removed his home, answering his father's recent plea for help.

SEE ALSO: Father of 9-year-old stowaway breaks down, pleads for someone to help his son

Expressing concern that the boy would be "endangered" if he returned home, Hennepin County District Judge Joseph Klein ordered separate therapy sessions for the boy and his family as well as an evaluation of others in his life as possible guardians.

The boy's parents had been expected to make a statement. Perhaps the closest they came was when their attorneys, including Bob Paule, asked the judge to prohibit the public -- meaning journalists -- from the courtroom. AP explained it this way:
Klein denied the family's request to close the hearing, though he granted their request to seal many of the records in the case. Paule cited "unprecedented media coverage," including the leak of a confidential county memo and what he said was an offer of money for the family's story. But the judge noted that Minnesota law says child protection proceedings should remain open except in extraordinary circumstances.
Last week, the father agreed to meet with reporters so long as he could shield his face with a black hoodie and ball cap. His son's story has taken off nationally.

The bizarre and frenzied pace of the coverage was evidenced when the boy returned to Minneapolis on Saturday with an NBC producer named John Getter on his tail. Authorities briefly detained and questioned Getter after he tried to take a picture of the boy, whom he described simply as "Bigger than expected."

However, the petition seeking intervention in the household does more than a photograph ever could. It shows that the boy was recently suspended from school for "aggressive behavior" and has a history of running away from home. He may also have stolen a car last month and later a truck, which he then crashed into a police squad car.

The boy was unaccompanied when he eluded security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Oct. 3, but possibly blended in with another family. He's believed to have walked down the jetway while a Delta gate agent was distracted. Once in flight, attendants realized he wasn't on the flight list and altered authorities on the ground.

Whatever the boy's sins, he's too young to be charged with a crime. He was not present in court Wednesday, although his parents were granted rights to visit and speak with him over the phone.

The next court hearing is set for Nov. 20, after what should be a relatively quiet month for everyone involved.

-- Email Jesse Marx at jmarx@citypages.com or follow him on Twitter @marxjesse



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18 comments
Lenny Grossman
Lenny Grossman

The start of a Career Criminal, Thanks Mom and Dad!

Chris Peden
Chris Peden

I love when they leave the sticker on the hat. That so gangster.

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

got to be a better environment than living with his parents

BriAnna Lea
BriAnna Lea

Hey 1998 called and wants its earpiece back

Rick Meyer
Rick Meyer

Joe, i don't know that the reporting is "worse than 9/11", but it's certainly getting a lot of attention. I think the interest is in the A: original story about a kid breaching security, and B: the crappy parenting that put the kid in that position. The appeal is that a lot of people can probably see their own kids doing something that "awesome".

Joe Strom
Joe Strom

and take your fucking bluetooth out of your ear, guy. C'mon.

Bigg Punn
Bigg Punn

I mean seriously if this 9 yr old boy is this big of a con artist what are his parents like???...lol I think this little dude is awesome honestly he's trying to get his...make his mark...lol :)

Joe Strom
Joe Strom

That's defintely an issue, but the REAL issue, is that City Pages Minneapolis, KSTP-TV, WCCO-TV | CBS Minnesota, and KARE 11 News continue to report this, as if this is worst thing to happen since 9/11.

Bigg Punn
Bigg Punn

am I the only one who thinks the parents need parenting classes???

Rick Meyer
Rick Meyer

obviously a smart kid. He needs some help, and some guidance.

Joe Strom
Joe Strom

And don't you ever fucking delete my comments again.

Joe Strom
Joe Strom

The award for Story of the Year 2013 goes to..

Del Bauer
Del Bauer

Ok cool, so this story went from being an issue about airport security to a soap opera starring the family of the boy?

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