CANBY, Ore. – A 14-year-old Canby boy was able to slip through security at Portland International Airport and board a flight to Chicago using his mother's name and credit card.
Transportation Security Administration spokesman Dwayne Baird said that the boy — who is 6-foot-2 and weighs about 200 pounds — was asked by a TSA screener if his name was "Virginia," the first name of the passenger listed on the ticket. The boy said yes, was allowed through security and made the flight.
Baird says part of the problem is that minors are not required to show identification to pass through security, although they must have a boarding pass and are screened like all other passengers.
Also, children 11 and older are not required to have an adult escort to the gate, and "there is no government-issued ID for a 14-year-old," Baird told The Oregonian.
Virginia Davis said Saturday's flight was the second time in a week that her son has run away. She said the boy, who has Asperger's syndrome, went missing last Wednesday after she dropped him off at a movie in Oregon City.
When he failed to show up afterward, Davis called police. She said her son apparently spent the night in Clackamette Park in Oregon City before he recharged his cell phone at a restaurant and called her.
Virginia Davis said she believes both of her son's disappearances were manipulated by someone else, noting that he has exchanged an estimated 10,000 text messages with someone purporting to be a Chicago girl.
"But this could be an adult man, for all I know," she said.
She said she is trying to get more help for he son, who has poor social skills because of his Asperger's.
"He got on that plane without a penny in his pocket, with no coat and his old shoes with holes in them," Davis said. "His script of the world is based only on what happens to him in his life. If it happened to somebody else, it doesn't mean anything to him."
Davis contacted the Clackamas County sheriff's office on Saturday morning to report her son missing again. Police entered his name into a database as a runaway juvenile and issued an all-points bulletin.
However, using an AT&T program that Davis bought, phone company technicians were able to locate the teen, who was carrying his cell phone. The program showed he was near Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Davis alerted Clackamas deputies, who contacted Chicago police. Officers met the boy at a baggage claim area and arranged for a free return flight home, courtesy of United Airlines. He arrived back at Portland International Airport shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday and was reunited with his mother.