Police report sheds light on Minneapolis-Vegas stowaway strategy - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Police report sheds light on Minneapolis-Vegas stowaway strategy

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FOX 9 News has obtained the Las Vegas police report regarding the 9-year-old Minneapolis stowaway who snuck onto a Delta flight last week, and the eye-opening details shed light on the various stories the boy told.

According to the police report, the boy said he often runs away. This time, he admitted taking a light rail train to the Mall of America but said he then decided to stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to walk around.

The boy told police he found a boarding pass on the ground, picked it up and then walked toward a security checkpoint -- but an airport spokesman said security video contradicts that story because there is no paper in his hands.

The next part of the boy's story does coincide with the footage. The 9-year-old told police he "saw a family that looked like me" and walked behind them so it would look like he was part of the family.

Shortly after he disembarked from the Delta flight in Las Vegas after flight attendants discovered he had no ticket or unattended minor paperwork, his story changed. The boy told police he was on the plane with his father but the flight was full and they asked his dad to leave, adding that his father said he would meet him in Las Vegas. Delta officials previously confirmed the flight was not full.

In reality, the boy's parents -- who live off Olson Memorial Highway in Minneapolis -- had no idea where he was despite a dangerous 9-mile joyride the boy took in a stolen delivery truck just two days earlier.

"When you've got a 9-year-old who is doing significant behavior like that -- to me, that's a cry for help," Renelle Nelson, of the PACER Center, told FOX 9 News. "This is a kid who needs attention and he's not getting it."

Perhaps the saddest revelation in the police report came when Las Vegas police asked the boy about what he'd done and he replied, "No one cares about me."

At the PACER Center, they hear about kids acting out every day. Nelson says what's unfortunate is that parents -- like the boy's hoodie-hiding and desperate sounding father -- often don't know how to react. That's something PACER professionals hear quite a bit.

"'I don't know what to do. I don't know where to turn to. I'm afraid that if I ask for help, it'll look like I'm not a good parent,'" Nelson offered as examples.

Nelson said in cases like this, organizations can help parents learn to give children appropriate attention and steer behaviors.

Once Social Services got involved in Nevada, officials opted to admit the boy to a secure facility instead of sending him home, citing "inadequate reporting" from his parents about him going missing and a general lack of concern for his well-being. The boy is expected to come back to Minnesota on Friday, but at this point, it appears unlikely he'll be sent back home.

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