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Minn. stowaway, 9, ordered separated from parents

MINNEAPOLISA judge has ruled a 9-year-old boy who eluded security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and stowed away on a flight to Las Vegas should live away from his parents for now while all receive therapy.

A hearing was held Wednesday on a petition by Hennepin County seeking protection or county services for the boy.

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The judge also ordered therapy for the boy and his family.

The petition says the child has serious behavioral issues. He's stolen a truck, been suspended from school and repeatedly runs away from home.

The boy's father says the family's previous attempts to get help for the boy hit official roadblocks. The child got by security at the airport Oct. 3 and wound up in Las Vegas.

The father, who wouldn't give his name and concealed his face behind the closed hood of a black sweatshirt and a pulled-down baseball cap during a recent press conference, told reporters in Minneapolis that the boy said he was taking out the trash when his mother came home and the father left to run errands Oct. 2.

"I'm a parent; I'm not perfect," said the man, who became emotional several times during the press conference. "We assumed that he was at a friend's house."

Smith read a statement from the boy's mother, who was not at the press conference.

"I love my son," Smith read from the statement. "I miss my son. I want my son home."

The father acknowledged his son's past troubles, which most recently include being accused of stealing a utility vehicle from downtown Minneapolis and a bag from baggage claim at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he was also accused of not paying for a meal of chicken tenders and a soda at a restaurant.

"When he damaged those cars, I didn't know what was going through my son's head," the father said. "I just hoped and prayed that nobody get hurt."

The father also said that his son had been suspended from school for fighting.

The father said he has begged authorities for help with his son but wasn't provided any because he is a minor. When he said he suggested to a police officer that he should punish his son physically, the officer told the father that he would be arrested.

"If I whoop my son, I get locked up," the father said. "If I let my son keep on doing what he's doing, I get in trouble. Somebody please help me. Please."

There have allegedly been four child protection assessments conducted on the boy's family since last December, and staff members have labeled him a "challenging child," CBS station WCCO in Minneapolis reports.