Father of boy who hopped flight: ‘No one stepped up to help’


Graphics Project A Delta Airbus 330-223, takes off from LAX. (Tail number N860NW)

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(CNN) — The father of a 9-year-old boy who hopped a flight from Minnesota to Las Vegas last week tearfully told reporters Wednesday that he’d previously asked for help to address the boy’s behavior problems, but no one did.

“Somebody help me, please,” the father, who did not reveal his name, told reporters between sobs at a news conference hosted by the MAD DADS fathers’ organization in Minneapolis. “(He) wasn’t listening. (He did) what he wants to do.”

A MAD DADS spokesman said Wednesday that Hennepin County officials are offering to step in with services and programs.

Authorities have been trying to figure out how the boy slipped past security and airline gate agents at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday and board Delta Flight 1651 to Las Vegas without detection.

The boy went through security with other passengers, the Transportation Security Administration said, but officials were still trying to figure out how he did it — and how he got on the flight.

The boy, who was detained in Nevada, will be returned to Minneapolis because that is “where issues will be addressed,” a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN. It was unclear when he would return to Minnesota.

Drawing a sweatshirt’s hood tightly to his face to obscure his identity, the father said Wednesday he tried to ask assistance from police and social service officials because of his son’s previous indiscretions, including stealing a car this month.

“I’ve been asking for help. No one stepped up to help,” the dad said, head bowed.

Social workers reportedly were not strangers to the boy. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported this week that Janine Moore, area director of the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, wrote in an e-mail to agency officials that child protective workers investigated the boy’s family life four times.

“The reports have been inconsistent and there have been no injuries to the child; however, there is a pattern of behavior,” the newspaper quoted her as saying in the e-mail.

The boy’s “pattern of behavior” included sneaking into an area water park and his recent arrest on suspicion of stealing a car, she wrote, according to the newspaper.

By Jason Hanna

CNN’s Bill Kirkos contributed to this report.

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