Stowaway’s Father: ‘I’m A Parent, I’m Not Perfect’

He said no one has communicated with him since his son’s disappearance and he hasn’t been able to talk with his son.

The day prior to his thousand-mile flight, the 9-year-old took a truck that was parked outside a downtown business.

He drove the truck onto the interstate, crashing into cars along the way, and was eventually stopped and told police why he did it.

“He told the police officer, he thought he was playing Grand Theft Auto,” his father said.

The boy doesn’t have violent video games but they believe he was trying to emulate what he’s seen in those kinds of games.

“When he damaged those cars, I didn’t know what was going on in my son’s head. I just hoped and prayed that no one was hurt,” he said.

His father said the boy’s never been violent at home but was suspended from school for getting into a fight and was on suspension when the incident occurred.

“If we can just channel all that energy, he might be our next president,” said V.J. Smith, of MAD DADS.

His father said he feels helpless.

“If I whoop my son, I go to jail. If I let him keep doing what he’s doing, I get in trouble,” he said. “Somebody please, please help me.”

The boy’s father said he’s also concerned with the security at the airport and wants to know how this happened.

“How would you let a 9-year-old child go through security check without stopping him and questioning him?” he said. “He’s not a terrorist, he’s a 9-year-old child.”

Kathleen Mathews works at Washburn Center for Children.
She says the center is expanding to meet the needs of more families looking for help with their children.

“The need has been great for a long time,” she said. “There are kids whose wiring is different and you can be the best parent in the world and this child is going to be acting out.”

Mathews said Washburn works with children of all ages and parents should not be afraid to speak up when they feel there is an issue with their child they can’t handle.

MAD DADs is also working with the parents and will help provide a mentor to the child when he returns.

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