MSP Airport Officials say 9-Year-old Boy Waits, Slips By Gate Agent onto Plane

Updated: 10/08/2013 10:26 AM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart





We are learning more about the 9-year-old who flew to Las Vegas without a ticket and no parents. Child Protective services in Clark County, Nevada said the boy was in their custody as of Monday night.

ABC affiliate KTNV reported a GPS tracking bracelet was put on the child in fear that he may slip away again. A court hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday in the case.

KSTP has learned the boy's mother may be an employee at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Before boarding the flight for Las Vegas, the 9-year-old spent at least part of his time at the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport inside the Hot Dish restaurant in Terminal 1.

Hot Dish server Jacob Smith tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the boy came in on Wednesday and ordered a soft drink and chicken wings. Smith says "he was sitting there for awhile and looked a little suspicious. And he ended up having to use the restroom so I told him to leave his luggage there."

The luggage the child left was stolen from a baggage carousel at the airport, according to airport officials.

Once the child left he never came back. " I think it's out of control that he got on an airplane and flew out of here supposedly. It blows my mind. I think he's a little con artist. Beware. Beware of him because I've never seen anything like that before."

It is unclear where the boy went between Wednesday and Thursday when he took the flight to Las Vegas.

The airport referred our questions to the Transportation Security Administration who sent us this statement: "The child was screened along with all other passengers to ensure that he was not a threat to the aircraft." They added they would be looking into moving security barriers at the airport as part of this investigation.

Airport officials say the boy was seen on surveillance video killing time on the escalators before heading to ticketing. Then at checkpoint 4 the boy gets in line with ticketed passengers, and when he gets to the checkpoint, the agent is busy and he sneaks by, according to officials.

Airport officials tell KSTP the boy is seen talking with a gate agent before moving off to the side and waiting 20 maybe 30 seconds, until the gate agent helps another customer. That's when the boy makes his move and slips by and walks onto the plane.

Delta flight crew members were the first to throw up a red flag on Thursday, noticing the child was flying alone and not on their roster of unattended minors. The airline said Monday they were continuing to work with authorities in Minneapolis and the TSA to look into the circumstances involving the unticketed minor boarding the aircraft at MSP.

Hennepin County Child Services will be involved in the case when the child returns here to Minnesota. It is unclear when that will be.

Police have not released any details about the boy's identity or his family members.