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9-year-old runaway in custody after clandestine flight to Vegas

A Delta Airlines plane at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
A Delta Airlines plane at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
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Updated: 10/06/2013 6:07 pm
To see the video from KARE-11 in Minneapolis:

LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- A 9-year-old boy who flew Thursday from Minneapolis to Las Vegas on a Delta Airlines flight remains in protective custody today.

"All I can confirm is that he has been in protective custody and remains so today," Kristi Jordan, spokeswoman for the Clark County Department of Family Services, told News 3. "I'm not  allowed say where he is, here or in Minneapolis."

Despite numerous checkpoints and gate agents, officials at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport say the boy was somehow able to sneak through security and onto a Delta flight headed to Las Vegas.

"At this point, this is a Delta and TSA issue," said airport spokesperson Pat Hogan. "This is a rare incident."

The security mishap occurred Thursday on Delta Flight 1651. It wasn't until the plane landed in Las Vegas that the boy was stopped and questioned.

MSP officials say they've reviewed security footage and at this point do not believe he was carrying a boarding pass.

In a statement sent to KARE-11, Delta officials said, "We are investigating the incident and cooperating with the agencies involved." Authorities with the TSA released a similar statement.

"It's crazy," said Ryan Linderman, while passing through MSP airport Saturday. "I have an 8-year-old and that freaks me out."

Authorities believe the 9-year-old boy is a runaway from the Twin Cities.

"He had to pass three levels of security," said Terry Trippler, an air travel expert with "You have the TSA, the gate agents, and the flight crew and a child comes through without even a seat assignment."

Trippler says stowaway cases like this are rare, especially after 9/11.

"While we are safer in the air, this proves there are still gaping holes," he said.

KARE 11 learned that the boy also spent Wednesday at the airport, too. MSP officials say he took someone's luggage off a carousel, ordered food at a pre-security restaurant, asked the server to watch his luggage while he went to the restroom, but never returned.

Hogan says the boy is returning to the Twin Cities. Las Vegas police, Hennepin County authorities, and the boy's parents are working together.



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