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First Published Thursday, 30 April 2009

Flight Was Purchased With Credit Card, Father Says

POSTED: 10:02 am CDT April 30, 2009
UPDATED: 10:51 am CDT April 30, 2009

The father of a 13-year-old South Florida boy who disappeared Tuesday wants to know how his autistic son managed to take a flight by himself to California without anyone knowing.

The boy, Kenton Weaver, left his home in Boca Raton early Tuesday, drove his father’s Ford Explorer to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, parked in a ramp and boarded a Southwest Airlines plane, West Palm Beach television station WPBF reported.The boy flew to Chicago, waited through a layover and then completed a second leg to San Jose, Calif., not far from his mother’s home.His father, Dean Weaver, had no idea his autistic son took the journey. The worried dad, discovering the boy and his vehicle gone Tuesday, reported his son missing to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.Dean Weaver said his credit card was used to buy the flight ticket. He said he suspects his son bought the ticket over the phone.”I don’t think he has any ID, so I’m confused as to how he got onto the plane,” Dean Weaver said. “It’s very difficult to get on a plane these days, and somehow he managed to get a ticket, get through security, get on a plane and then I understand that it was not a direct flight. So he had to get off a plane, get back on another plane, all without anybody, you know, raising a question.”Airport spokesman Greg Meyer said a 13-year-old passenger can pass through security with just a boarding pass.”We realize the boy was 13 years old,” Meyer said. “He’s under age 18, therefore he was not required to have any photo ID. He was able to get through security checkpoint legally.”Southwest Airlines did not return calls seeking comment about the boy’s flight.Kenton Weaver suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism. Dean Weaver said his son is fascinated with aviation.”He wanted to get on a plane because he’s fixated with flying,” Dean Weaver said. “He wants to be a pilot. He wants to work for an airline. He does video games that are flight simulation games.”The dad said he and the boy’s mother plan to devise better methods of keeping tabs on their son’s whereabouts.

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