29 Oct 2010

National Crime Alert For Mom & Son Hiding From Court Ordered Medical Treatment

The Star Tribune - Minnesota May 19, 2009

Where are Daniel Hauser and his mother?

The cancer patient and his mother weren’t in court Tuesday. The teen’s father says they left, and his wife said, “That’s all you need to know.”

By WARREN WOLFE |Star Tribune


Defying a court order, the mother of Daniel Hauser has gone into hiding with her 13-year-old son rather than subject him to the chemotherapy that doctors believe is his only hope against cancer.

State and national crime alerts went out Tuesday afternoon after Daniel's father startled a courtroom here by saying that he didn't know the whereabouts of his son or his wife, Colleen.

Anthony Hauser said he last spoke to his wife about 4 p.m. Monday as he milked cows at the family farm near Sleepy Eye. He said his wife told him she was going to leave and "That's all you need to know."

Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg reacted by finding Colleen Hauser in contempt of court. He also ordered that Daniel be placed in a foster home as soon as he is located, then sent to a pediatric oncologist for treatment of his Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Doctors have said that with treatment Daniel has an 80 to 90 percent chance of survival; without it he likely will die within five years.

"The court's priority at this point is to try to get Daniel Hauser and get him the care he needs," said Rodenberg, who at one point urged lawyers to speed up what became a 90-minute proceeding. "Daniel is 90 minutes farther away from here" than when court convened, Rodenberg said.

Had Daniel attended Tuesday's hearing, he would have heard his doctor testify that a chest X-ray taken Monday showed that his tumor has grown back to its original size before chemotherapy. A medical report filed with the court also noted a "significant worsening'' of the tumor since a March 13 X-ray.

Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffmann said that investigators were checking leads in the area and that they expect to get additional calls as news spreads about Daniel's disappearance.

Suspected flight risk

County officials had "kind of suspected this would happen," Hoffmann said of the Hausers' disappearance. "But we had no legal grounds to do anything" preemptive.

A statewide crime alert containing Colleen Hauser's description was sent to law enforcement agencies. County Attorney James Olson said the judge's order will allow for her arrest in any state. Authorities are unsure what vehicle they are looking for -- the family van was left at the home so someone likely picked up Colleen and Daniel, Hoffmann said. "There's no vehicle missing," he said.

There's no record yet of credit card use by Colleen Hauer, something that could help track her, Hoffman said.

Olson said he is considering whether to ask the judge to also find Anthony Hauser in contempt and perhaps jail him until Daniel is found. "I don't know, though. This whole thing is pretty crazy. Maybe he's telling the truth and really doesn't know what's going on."

Reached at home Tuesday night, Anthony Hauser said he has some ideas where his wife might have gone. "But I can't say for certain," he said, declining to elaborate. "I think it's possible that she's gone off to get help [for Daniel]."

When X-rays this week showed the tumor had grown back to its original size, "it threw fear" into his wife, Anthony Hauser said. "She didn't tell me that. I just know her."

Hauser said he was a "bit disappointed" that his wife didn't stickwith the plan they had talked about. "We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn't go with it, we would appeal it," he said. Anthony Hasuer said he doesn't oppose chemotherapy but would prefer that it be given less frequently and in conjunction with alternative therapy.

"I know many people around here who have had cancer, they did the chemo, it would come back," Hauser said. "They did the chemo again and again and they are all in the grave. Chemo isn't foolproof."

Daniel received only a single treatment of chemotherapy after his cancer was diagnosed in January. Instead, he and his parents began "alternative medicines," such as herbs and vitamins, citing their religious beliefs and fear that the treatment itself was harming the boy.

Rodenberg last week ruled that the Hausers were medically neglecting their son. However, he said that Daniel could remain with them if they obtained an X-ray to track any changes in the cancer and chose an oncologist to treat the boy.

'Other places to go'

Dr. James Joyce testified Tuesday that when he examined Daniel on Monday, the boy complained of severe pain around a "port" that had been placed in his chest in January to administer cancer-fighting drugs. The pain probably was caused by the tumor pushing at the port, Joyce said.

Joyce said he was ready to set an appointment for Daniel with an oncologist, and recommended doctors at Children's Hospital of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota or Mayo Clinic, but Colleen Hauser declined.

He said he also tried to give Daniel more information about lymphoma, but that his mother and a woman accompanying them -- who identified herself to the doctor as California attorney Susan Daya -- left in a rush, saying they had "other places to go."

Seeking info by phone

At the judge's request, a court clerk tried to call Daya and Colleen Hauser on cell phones Tuesday without success. The clerk also called the boy's maternal grandmother, who testified by phone that she had not spoken to her daughter for about two weeks and didn't know where she is.

Daniel's oldest sister, Mary Ann, 16, also testified Tuesday that she had not seen her mother since Monday and did not know where to find her or Daniel.

After the hearing concluded, a man who for a time acted as a family spokesman said he was now "pretty upset'' with the Hausers.

"Daniel should be getting some treatment -- something," said Dan Zwakman of Cottage Grove, a member of a religious group to which Daniel Hauser and his mother belong. The group says it follows Native American traditions of healing using herbs and meditation.

"They said they were going to obey the judge's order, and then they take off. I don't know what they're thinking," Zwakman said.

Staff writer M.L. Smith contributed to this report. Warren Wolfe • 612-67...

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Update on Thursday, June 4, 2009


Nemenhah leader defends group

STOCKTON, Mo. (AP) – Phillip “Cloudpiler” Landis was raised Mormon in western Washington and didn’t think too much about what he considers his American Indian heritage until he went to prison.
“What better place to have to sit and reflect upon what motivates you,” he says.

Landis now leads the Nemenhah Band, an Internet-base group recently thrown into the spotlight when one of its far-flung members fled with her cancer-stricken son to avoid chemotherapy.

Landis, 47, has never met Colleen Hauser or 13-year-old Daniel, and urges them to return home. But he supports the Hausers’ decision to defy the recommendations of doctors, who “may be the high priests of the medical religion, but who are spiritually bankrupt.”

The attention garnered for Landis has some in the field of alternative and complementary medicine concerned. American Indian groups also have expressed misgivings about Landis.

“A lot of people are attaching themselves to the alternative medicine field,” said Lorenzo Cohen, director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “It does give quote-unquote alternative medicine a bad name.”

Cohen said most people seeking alternative therapies usually use them in combination with conventional therapies, like chemotherapy, and that the Hauser case “was particularly tragic” because Daniel has a “very curable pediatric cancer.”

Steven Moore, senior attorney for the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo., was critical of Landis and his group.

“There are a lot of sham artists around like these guys, and they ultimately disrespect Indian people and Indian nations and Indian organizations like the Native American Church,” Moore said.

Landis said his group is a healing-based religion open to people from “all walks of life, and all tribes, nations, kindreds and tongues ... who set their foot on the healing path.”

Colleen Hauser joined the Nemenhah a few months ago, presumably paying the $250 suggested fee as her son dealt with cancer, which is “not inconsistent with how a lot of our members join,” Landis said.

“They’re thrown into a medical situation, the medical hierarchy hasn’t too many real answers for them, and they begin to search.”

On its Web site, the group suggests paying the initial fee, then $100 a year, plus “regular, monthly offerings.” The Web site does not appear to espouse any particular type of alternative therapy.

Its rituals include sweat lodges, sacred breaths and baptism, Landis said, but he does not advocate the use of peyote, something that is used by the Native American Church of North America. He said the Nemenhah Band is an affiliate of another group called the Native American Church, and Moore said that Landis does not have “any affiliation with a legitimate, valid, Native American Church chapter or organization anywhere in the United States.”

The Nemenhah Band came together about 10 years ago in central Utah by a group of women who felt they had a calling, Landis said. He was elected “principle medicine chief” in part because of his claim to be related to Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, he said.

But Julie Kane, managing attorney for the Nez Perce in Idaho, said Landis is not Nez Perce and the tribe asked him to stop using references to the Nez Perce a few years ago.

“He is not at all Nez Perce. He is not even a descendant,” Kane said.

Colleen Hauser left Minnesota on Monday with Daniel, who has Hodgkins’ lymphoma, a highly curable cancer when treated with chemotherapy and radiation. The Hausers preferred alternative remedies, and Daniel and his mother fled a day before a court hearing that could have resulted in a judge ordering chemotherapy.

The Hausers, who are not American Indian, were seen in Southern California on Tuesday, and were thought to be in Mexico. Authorities said Friday that Interpol had joined in the search.

While Hauser leads authorities on an international search, Landis has been left answering questions about the Nemenhah.

“We can support her desire to seek alternative medicine,” he said. “But we cannot support her committing a felony.”

He speaks freely about his past and his decision to move from Utah last year to southern Missouri when his probation ended after serving several months in prison on fraud charges.

“Trees brought us here,” he said, throwing his arms open wide. “We are not a desert family.”

Landis, his wife and four children started in Weaubleau, population about 500. The family has since moved about 30 miles away to land north of Stockton, a southwest Missouri town of about 2,000 where Landis says he is building a “lodge” for his family and for the Nemenhah Band, which he claims has about 4,000 members. He doesn’t say where that land is exactly, and meets reporters at picnic tables in a park in the center of Stockton.

He said western medicine has its place, telling about a time when his daughter knelt on a nail that went under her kneecap. The nail came out, Landis said, but there was no way to see what, if any, damage had been done. Landis did what many parents would do: He took his child to the hospital and had her knee X-rayed. Also, she had a tetanus shot.

“Our main tenet is: `First, do no harm,’ not, `First do nothing,”’ he said.

Landis said he lost faith in most traditional medicine after a bout with bubonic plague, a broken back and cancer, which he said disappeared thanks to a tea-like concoction made from a mushroom. He still drinks the mushroom tea daily, he said, 15 years after his diagnosis.

He refers to Daniel Hauser as a youth minister and says he wants the Hausers to return.

“The fear was so great that she broke,” Landis said of Colleen Hauser. “But it pales in comparison to what she and her family will go through if she goes to jail. I’ve been there; I know what she’d go through.”
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