MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A 13-year-old cancer patient and his mother are back in Minnesota after fleeing nearly a week ago to avoid court-ordered chemotherapy, a sheriff's office said Monday.
The Brown County sheriff's office did not provide more details Monday before an evening news conference at the county seat of New Ulm.
Daniel Hauser and his mother, Colleen, had been due to appear in court last Tuesday for a hearing that could have resulted in a judge ordering chemotherapy to treat Daniel for Hodgkin's lymphoma. They missed the court appearance, and the search for them had focused on southern California and Mexico.
Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffmann speaks with reporters in front of the Brown County Courthouse in New Ulm, at a news conference today announcing the return of Colleen and Daniel Hauser of rural Sleepy Eye, MN. on Monday. Hoffmann said his office was contacted on Sunday, May 24, by Califorinia attorney Jennifer Keller on behalf of Colleen Hauser. Keller indicated Hauser wanted to bring her son home. They returned to Minnesota on a charter flight at about 3 a.m. Monday. The family is reunited at the family farm, according to the sheriff's statement.
A message left for Daniel's attorney Monday afternoon was not immediately returned. An attorney for Colleen and Anthony Hauser was out of town and could not be reached for immediate comment.
Daniel has Hodgkin's lymphoma, which doctors say has a 90 percent chance of being cured in children if treated with chemotherapy and radiation. Without treatment, he has a 5 percent chance of survival.
Daniel underwent one round of chemotherapy in February, but stopped after that single treatment, citing religious beliefs. The family opted instead for natural healing practices inspired by American Indians.
A judge ruled that the parents medically neglected Daniel and ordered them to get him an updated chest X-ray as well as select an oncologist for a re-evaluation. After the X-ray showed a tumor in Daniel's chest has grown, the mother and son left town.
The American Cancer Society estimates there are 35 to 50 clinics in Mexican border towns that attract cancer patients looking for alternatives to traditional U.S. treatment methods.
An FBI affidavit alleges Colleen Hauser fled to avoid being prosecuted on two state counts of depriving another of custodial or parental rights. Brown County family services has been granted custody of Daniel to get him to a pediatric oncologist.
Last Thursday, Anthony Hauser appeared before reporters asking his wife to come home. "If you're out there, please bring Danny home so we can decide as a family what Danny's treatment should be," he said.
At a news conference Thursday, Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffmann vowed to arrange a safe return for Colleen Hauser without an enforcement action if she shows "a good faith effort to come back."