The 9-year-old boy who snuck past security and hopped a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Las Vegas on Oct. 3 has been ordered to be placed out of his home while he and his family get therapy and receive other services.
Hennepin County District Judge Joseph Klein presided over the Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) hearing, which lasted just 15 minutes in Hennepin County Juvenile Court on Wednesday.
Klein granted the county's petition to declare the boy a "child in need of protection or services," and that will allow the court to supervise the protection process that has now begun. The ruling also orders individual therapy for the boy and family therapy for his parents while county and school officials work to determine what kind of help the boy needs.
The boy will not be placed in the custody of his parents during this process, and where he is staying remains unclear. Klein did not discuss when the boy may return home, and Hennepin County officials declined to disclose where any specifics, saying only that the boy is safe.
The boy was not present for the hearing, but his parents were. Klein granted the parents visitation privileges, and attorneys representing the family did not object to the arrangement.
Klein did deny the family's request to close the hearing, but he granted their request to seal many records related to the case. Robert Paule, the lawyer representing the boy's mother, cited "unprecedented media coverage" -- including the leak of a confidential memo -- as reasoning.
In fact, no one involved in the case will be allowed to speak with the media going forward. Anyone who does may be held in contempt of court.
No discussion was held during the hearing regarding what may have led to the boy's behavioral issues. Last week, the boy's father told reporters the family tried to get help but were told the boy hadn't done anything bad enough yet.
The Hennepin County attorney's office filed the CHIPS petition on Friday. That petition, and other statements by the boy's father and other officials, described an escalating pattern of misbehavior through the summer. What began with running away and staying out overnight turned into suspensions at school for aggressive behavior.
The boy is also accused of sneaking into a water park, stealing a delivery truck and taking a damaging 9-mile joyride, and walking out of a lunch bill at an airport restaurant prior to hopping the flight that garnered national attention. Under Minnesota law, the boy is too young to be charged for any offenses.
The flight to Las Vegas was the first the boy had ever been on, according to his family. He was met by police at the gate, and was put in the custody of Child Protective Services in Nevada until he returned to Minnesota on Saturday.