An 11-year-old Tacoma boy, who has twice sneaked past airport security, once hitched a ride on a plane to Texas, stolen a car and is accused of breaking into a neighbor's house, has been taken from his mother's home and is in foster care.
An 11-year-old Tacoma boy, who has twice sneaked past airport security, once hitched a ride on a plane to Texas, stolen a car and is accused of breaking into a neighbor’s house, has been taken from his mother’s home and is in foster care.
Semaj Booker and his three brothers — who range from 2 to 12 years old — were taken from their mother’s home after a hearing on Aug. 5, according to state Attorney General spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie.
Sakinah Booker’s youngest child, a 5-month-old girl, also was taken from the home then, but has since been returned to Booker’s care, Guthrie said.
Guthrie did not release any additional details about the siblings or the case.
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The dependency evaluation was ordered on July 31 by Pierce County Superior Judge Frank Cuthbertson, who had been set to rule on whether Semaj had the capacity to understand right from wrong when he was alleged to have committed a residential burglary July 5.
Cuthbertson said he ordered the dependency evaluation after his review of Child Protective Services records about the family caused him concern.
The dependency evaluation is a legal process questioning Booker’s fitness as a parent that could result in the loss of custody of her children.
Booker, 30, could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Social workers familiar with the family have said in the past that Booker is a good mother.
Semaj was 9 on Jan. 14, 2007, when he ran away from home, stole a neighbor’s car and led police on a high-speed chase. He was taken into custody but returned home because Remann Hall juvenile detention center deemed him too young to incarcerate.
The following day, he traveled alone by bus to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he made it past security checkpoints and conned his way onto a plane to Texas.
He was 10 when he tried unsuccessfully to hitch another plane ride in May.
On July 5, he taken to Remann Hall after allegedly breaking into a neighbor’s house and refusing to give his correct name and address to police.
He was released and placed on 24-hour home arrest by Cuthbertson on July 28.
A juvenile probation officer filed for the dependency evaluation for Semaj. The petitions on his siblings were filed by the state Department of Social and Health Services.
Guthrie said the next hearing will be a “first set fact-finding hearing” on Sept. 15.
Another fact-finding hearing if necessary, will be Oct. 13.
Pierce County prosecutor Angela McGaha said the capacity hearing in Semaj’s burglary case has been postponed until Sept. 17.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or firstname.lastname@example.org