Daughters “Detained” by Airline: A “Stroke” of Bad Luck?

The daughters of FlyerTalk member DeirdreTours were removed from the aircraft in Minneapolis by a gate agent after boarding a Delta Air Lines flight to Louisville because — at the ages of 13 and 10 — they were considered unaccompanied minors.
The daughters were on their way home on the last flight out after visiting their grandparents. The daughters were able to fly to Minneapolis by themselves from Louisville because DeirdreTours and her husband were originally supposed to travel with them, but DeirdreTours suffered from an unexpected stroke. DeirdreTours could not travel as a result, and her husband did not want to leave her alone, so her husband arranged with Delta Air Lines to have the daughters travel while DeirdreTours and her husband received credit for their airline tickets. No unaccompanied minor fees were apparently charged to the husband, who escorted them through the airport security checkpoint in Minneapolis.
Despite DeirdreTours immediately paying the fee for transporting each unaccompanied minor upon being called at home by a representative of Delta Air Lines, the daughters remained at the airport and their flight departed without them. The daughters were eventually “locked” in a lounge specifically for minors and were not released to the brother-in-law immediately, even though he arrived to have the daughters released into his custody.
The daughters reportedly were eventually booked on a flight to Louisville the next day.
Adding to the confusion is that the daughters have apparently traveled alone on other airlines, which supposedly have different rules concerning the transportation of unaccompanied minors.
So what exactly happened here? Was the initial apparent good deed of an agent of Delta Air Lines the cause of the eventually stressful situation? Did representatives of Delta Air Lines overreact, or did they have the best interest of the daughters in mind? Should the policies and rules pertaining to unaccompanied minors be consistent amongst all airlines? Despite the stroke she suffered, did DeirdreTours or her husband share any responsibility for this situation, or should some form of compensation be awarded to them? What are your thoughts?
There are many questions to be answered here — hopefully, for the benefit of preventing a similar situation to happen to you or anyone else in the future…

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