The father of the 9-year-old Minnesota boy who last week stowed away
on a Delta flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Las Vegas admits that the boy needs help.
"I don't have an angel, okay? I have a 9-year-old," the father told CNN affiliate WCCO. "To me, he's got a behavioral problem."
The father, who asked not to be identified (because of the boy's age, the young stowaway also has not been named publicly), told the TV station that the family has been unsuccessfully trying to get help for his son for years.
Earlier it was reported that the boy has a history of sneaking into a local waterpark
and that he recently stole and crashed a vehicle.
"I miss my son," the father said of the boy who reportedly is still being held by child welfare authorities in Las Vegas. "I love my son."
He also said that his wife reported their son missing on Thursday morning. When last they saw him – on Wednesday – he was leaving the house to take out the garbage.
"We're not bad parents. We didn't think nuthin' of it," the father said. "We thought he was at his friend's house."
Although the mother works at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and is not thought to have had a hand in her boy's flight, the father said he never expected his son would take the light rail from their North Minneapolis neighborhood and start his adventure on Delta Flight 1651.
"I don't understand," said the father. "You've got so [many] security checks at these airports. How can you let a 9-year-old sneak past security, get on the plane, without anyone stopping him, questioning him or anything?"
Although no timetable has been announced, the boy will be returned to Minneapolis, "where issues will be addressed," a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN.
In an email obtained by the Minneapolis Star Tribune
Janine Moore, area director of the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, told county administrators and commissioners that child protection staff members had conducted four assessments of the boy's family since December. He was also labeled a "challenging" child.
"The reports have been inconsistent and there have been no injuries to the child; however, there is a pattern of behavior," she wrote.
The Star Tribune
also said that Moore's email stated that the boy was arrested two weeks ago after allegedly stealing a car – and that he alleged that his mother has held a knife to his throat and that she was "stabbed and died."
Reached by the Associated Press, Moore said the memo was intended to be kept private and "there's nothing more I can share."