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Charlotte Airport Will Now Look Into Stowaway Theory

Charlotte Douglas International Airport authorities say they're cooperating with a federal investigation into the possibility that a teenager stowed away in the wheel-well of a flight bound for Boston last month. WFAE's Julie Rose reports Charlotte Airport director Jerry Orr is saying little else about his response to the investigation. The theory that 16-year old Delvonte Tisdale may have stowed away somewhere on the outside of a plane bound from Charlotte to Boston has circulated for weeks. Last week, Massachusetts police announced it was their top theory for how Tisdale's mangled body ended up in a Boston suburb that lies in the flight path for Logan International Airport. But only yesterday did Charlotte Airport Authorities decide to participate in an investigation. Airport director Jerry Orr explains that until now, the focus has been in Massachusetts. "It happened in Massachusetts and Massachussetts has done the investigation, so the facts are in their possession," said Orr. "Until we have that, we don't much know what to investigate." Yesterday, Charlotte airport officials confirmed they had been invited to help TSA with the investigation. Orr would say nothing more about the investigation. But he insists that all talk of Tisdale secretly climbing into the wheel well of a plane at the Charlotte airport is pure speculation . . . and hard to imagine, at that. "It's certainly outlandish," says Orr. "Could it happen? Anything can happen." The district attorney in Milton, Massachusetts - William Keating - thinks it did happen. Tisdale's body was found where planes lower their landing gear as they approach Boston's airport. Investigators found hand and fingerprints in grease in the wheel well of a plane that passed over the neighborhood where Tisdale's body was found on November 15th. Keating says similar grease was found on Tisdale's clothes. "I think it's important to make public the fact that what appears to be a major breach of security seems to have occurred and to withhold any information at his point would endanger public safety," said Keating at a press conference last Friday. If the teenager got to the plane through passenger security, TSA would bear some responsibility. If he got onto the runway through a perimeter fence, that would fall under Charlotte Airport authority. No matter how it happened, Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon is asking, "What can we do right now to ensure this kind of thing doesn't happen again?" Cannon has asked Charlotte airport authorities to determine if extra measures or heightened security need to be put in place. Airport director Jerry Orr would not say whether the results of the joint investigation with TSA will be made public. Nor would he say when he plans to respond to Mayor Pro Tem Cannon's request.

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