Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | 6:14 p.m.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota boy who stowed away on a flight to Las Vegas last year is close to being reunited with his parents, a judge said Friday.
Hennepin County Judge Joseph Klein said he's pleased enough with the boy's progress that he soon may be able to permanently rejoin his family.
The boy, who is now 10, has been placed outside his home under child protective services.
Klein also complimented the boy's parents for their engagement and support.
"I'm encouraged by all the reports," he said
The boy was not in court Friday, the Star Tribune reported.
The boy, then 9, gained national notoriety Oct. 3 when he sneaked past federal security agents at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and boarded a flight to Las Vegas by himself without a ticket. He was detained when the plane landed in Nevada, and was later returned to Minnesota.
In November, the judge and all of the parties involved agreed it would be best for the boy to remain in protective custody.
During Friday's 15-minute hearing, the boy's parents waived their right to challenge the county's protective services petition. That means the county and the boy's parents will continue working to reunite the family.
Assistant County Attorney Cory Carlson said the boy is doing well in placement. He said the boy's parents have been engaged in his therapy and family sessions.
Carlson asked Klein to increase visitation time and to prepare a home study plan for the boy's probable return to his family by March 19, when the next court hearing is held.