Missing 15-year-old found at Orlando airport went through TSA precheck, police say

Girl showed Southwest Airlines employee a drink ticket belonging to another passenger, report shows

ORLANDO, Fla. – A 15-year-old with autism who went missing from her Apopka home last week went through a security checkpoint at Orlando International Airport on Friday before she was found near a departure gate and police recognized her as the girl from a missing person’s report, according to the Orlando police report.

The girl was reported missing after her parents say she was last seen around 10 p.m. on Jan. 9. She was found less than 24 hours later at an Orlando International Airport terminal, Apopka police said.

The Orlando Police Department incident report shows that the girl was near gate No. 128 when a Southwest Airlines employee said she saw the 15-year-old wandering near the gate.

The employee asked her if she could help her find her departure gate and the teen showed the employee a ticket with another name on it, according to the report. The person whose name was on the ticket had already boarded a flight, records showed.

Officials with the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority said the teen presented a valid boarding pass to TSA.

After the girl was brought to police attention, an officer immediately recognized her as the person from a missing person’s report issued by the Apopka Police Department, the report shows.

Police said the girl told them she “took several buses from Apopka" to get to the airport and she “just wanted to fly on an airplane.” The teen told police she found the ticket on the floor and used it to pass through Transportation Security Administration precheck.

Video surveillance showed her passing through TSA precheck around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, police said.

The TSA said the 15-year-old presented a “valid and current boarding pass” before passing through precheck.

“Under the age of 18, passengers are not required to present an ID,” the TSA said. “She was screened and therefore presented no threat to the aviation system.”

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