A 13-year-old Minnesota boy whose family has rejected chemotherapy to treat his cancer is near Los Angeles, California, with his mother, and the pair may be planning to travel to Mexico, authorities said Thursday.
Brown County, Minnesota, Sheriff Rich Offmann cited “reliable information” in making the announcement to reporters, adding that Colleen Hauser may be seeking treatment for her son’s lymphoma in Mexico, just south of San Diego, California. “I’m confident we will find them,” Offmann said. “I’m hoping for Daniel’s sake, we will find them.” The sheriff’s office issued a felony arrest warrant for Hauser on Thursday in an effort to “ensure extradition to Minnesota.” It is not an enhanced criminal penalty, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office. California authorities have been notified and have begun an investigation into the missing mother and son’s whereabouts, with assistance from the FBI, the sheriff’s office said. Anthony Hauser, Colleen’s husband and the boy’s father, has been cooperating with law enforcement, Offmann said. Family spokesman Dan Zwakman told CNN Thursday that Anthony Hauser was not aware that his wife was taking the child. “From all appearances,” Zwakman said, “it was a case of her decision by herself.” Watch what legal issues are at stake »
Mother, son missing in forced chemotherapy case
MayoClinic.com: Hodgkin’s lymphoma
The boy’s father and mother have not been in contact since she left, the spokesman said. The boy and his mother were last reported seen Monday in Minnesota, where a doctor said the boy’s cancer was worsening and Daniel had said he was in severe pain. When mother and son failed to show up at a court hearing Tuesday, Brown County District Judge John R. Rodenberg issued an arrest warrant for Colleen Hauser. He said the boy’s “best interests” require that he receive medical care. Rodenberg ordered custody of the boy transferred from his parents, who live in Sleepy Eye, to Brown County Family Services and issued a contempt order for the mother. Philip Elbert, Daniel’s court-appointed attorney, said he considers his client to have a “diminished capacity” because of his age and the illness, and he added that he believes Daniel should be treated by a cancer specialist. “The judge wants to hear from Daniel, so we need him here to give his position to the judge,” Elbert told CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Wednesday. Elbert said he does not believe Daniel — who, according to court papers, cannot read — has enough information to make an informed decision regarding his treatment. Colleen Hauser took off with her son, Zwakman said, because “she was afraid of what the court was going to order for Danny.” Watch father urge the pair to come back » Daniel’s symptoms of persistent cough, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes were diagnosed in January as Hodgkins lymphoma. In February, the cancer responded well to an initial round of chemotherapy, but the treatment’s side-effects concerned the boy’s parents, who chose not to pursue further chemo and instead solicited other medical opinions. Court documents show that the doctors estimated the boy’s chance of five-year remission with more chemotherapy and possibly radiation at 80 percent to 95 percent. But the family rejected standard treatment, opting instead for a holistic medical treatment based on Native American healing practices called Nemenhah. In a written statement issued last week, an attorney for the parents said they “believe that the injection of chemotherapy into Danny Hauser amounts to an assault upon his body, and torture when it occurs over a long period of time.” Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, said he had no doubts about what to do. “My advice would be to treat him, without question,” he said. “He has a very, very good chance of surviving, being cured and never having to deal with this again. As a doctor, as a fellow citizen, I would say he should be treated.” Watch Gupta discuss Daniel’s chances » But Zwakman told CNN’s “American Morning” program Thursday that he knows five people who have been cured with natural healing. “Yes, it’s happened many times,” he said. Mankato, Minnesota, lawyer Calvin P. Johnson, who identified himself as the Hauser family’s attorney, has declined interviews but issued a statement “by way of clarification and hopefully to aid your understanding of the procedural nuances in the Danny Hauser case.” The statement listed 12 points. Among them: The first and foremost important principle is: It is a violation of spiritual law to invade the consciousness of another without their consent. This is a case of Love vs. Power. Love gives. Power takes. The state does not have a right to take. A parent’s love and affection is a positive social right we all share. The court compelled Colleen Hauser to make a decision between three chemotherapy providers. Apparently, she didn’t like the list. The court was forcing her to decide.
The decision for treatment cannot be forced. Anthony and Colleen Hauser share Danny’s viewpoint: They do not approve of chemotherapy. Under the circumstances of this case, chemotherapy constitutes assault and torture when given to a young man who believes that it will kill him.