Exclusive: Bosnian Family Living At Airport
MILWAUKEE - A family of three has apparently been living in the baggage claim at Mitchell Airport for days.
The family claims they lost their tickets to Kansas City, and they decided to stay at the airport because they didn't have the money to buy new tickets.
In a secluded area of Baggage Carousel 1, Tatjana Voloder, her mother, and her teenage son have been eating, sleeping, and waiting.
"Today is eight days," Voloder said.
The family is originally from Bosnia, but they recently lived in Milwaukee and Kansas City. They were trying to get to a relative's place in Kansas City, but they claim they lost their plane tickets.
The family doesn't speak English well, and they claim their relative can't help them get to Kansas City.
"Do you have any other place to stay in Milwaukee?" asked TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Michael George.
"Not right now," Voloder replied.
But there are some problems with their story. Midwest Airlines says they have no record of the family having a ticket.
Adele Pitt, a baggage worker for Continental Express, noticed the family sitting at the baggage claim for days at a time.
"When I went home at 2 o'clock in the morning, I saw them there. And they were still there when I saw them there at 5," Pitt said.
She gave the family some toiletries and pizza from the food court.
Mitchell Airport officials didn't notice them until Wednesday.
“I don’t even know where to start. I mean, how is it possible that a family can live in an airport for eight days and nobody seems to notice?" asked TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Aaron Diamant.
"Well, of course that's a good question, because people are coming and going waiting for passengers, so people probably wouldn't notice," Barry Bateman said.
Midwest has no record of them ever flying in. The TSA says they're not a security risk, and so far the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department hasn't thrown them out for loitering.
The situation shares some similarities to the movie, "The Terminal" where Tom Hanks gets stuck for months at JFK.
"Is this the most bizarre thing you've ever dealt with since taking over this job?" asked Aaron Diamant.
"Well, a lot of bizarre things happen, but this is an odd one," Bateman said.
On Wednesday morning, the family was not at the baggage claim. No one seems to know where they went.
If they come back, though, the Sheriff's Department won't let them stay at the airport anymore. They've made arrangements at a local shelter.
Another unusual twist: After seeing the report on TODAY'S TMJ4, New Berlin police said they are looking to talk to the family. They believe the family may be responsible for some harrassing calls to a New Berlin priest. However, they say the family will not be arrested or face criminal charges.