Daniel Hauser of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, but he and his mother, Colleen Hauser, have disappeared. Authorities nationwide are on the lookout for the boy and his mother.
Tuesday's appearance was scheduled as a followup to Judge John Rodenberg's ruling Friday that Daniel Hauser's parents had medically neglected their son. The family was treating Daniel's cancer with diet and ionized water instead of chemotherapy, which they said was consistent with their religious beliefs.
Hauser and his parents were due in court to hear the results of the boy's chest X-ray. The judge would have then decided whether the boy's cancer could still be treated with chemotherapy.
Brown County attorney Jim Olson says only Anthony Hauser, Daniel's father, showed up.
"They had the X-ray done with Dr. Joyce in Sleepy Eye Monday morning," Olson said. "Those results were presented to the court. Mr. Hauser -- I called him as a witness and he said the last time he saw his wife was at night. He was doing milking. And she left. And he doesn't know where she's at. Doesn't know where the boy is. They are gone."
Anthony Hauser testified that he hadn't seen his son since Monday morning and doesn't know where his wife and son are. Judge Rodenberg is holding Colleen Hauser in contempt of court.
"Once she is picked up, she can purge herself of contempt by producing Daniel," Olson said.
Daniel Hauser will then be placed in custody of Brown County Family Services. Olson says evidence presented Tuesday shows that the boy's tumor had grown significantly.
"The X-ray indicates that the tumor is now the original size it was back in January," Olson said.
“We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn't go with it, we would appeal it.”Anthony Hauser, Daniel's father
It's unclear whether Colleen Hauser knew that her son's tumor had grown before she disappeared. According to Tuesday's testimony, she refused to make any appointments for chemotherapy. The boy told the doctor that he was in a significant amount of pain.
A message left at the Hauser home in Sleepy Eye early Wednesday wasn't immediately returned. But in an interview Tuesday evening with the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Anthony Hauser said he knew places where his wife might have gone but he did not know where she was.
He said he and his wife had a plan for Tuesday's hearing, and he was a "bit disappointed" she didn't follow it. "We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn't go with it, we would appeal it," he told the newspaper.
He said he isn't against chemotherapy, but would prefer that it be given less frequently and along with alternative medicine.
"I know many people around here who have had cancer, they did the chemo, it would come back," Hauser told the newspaper. "They did the chemo again and again and they are all in the grave. Chemo isn't foolproof."
Ann Ahlstrom of the Minnesota Children's Justice Initiative says Colleen Hauser's actions are likely motivated by fear.
"Fear of the medical establishment, the legal establishment. A lack of trust that the judge has issued the best order for the child, and the parent's desire to protect the child from the establishment," she said.
Ahlstrom says from her understanding of the case, it's likely that the mother feels the need to protect her son's physical and spiritual well-being.
"It would be my guess that there is a community of supporters," she said. "I think that was demonstrated by what I read in the press by the number of people who appeared in the courtroom. And there well may be people who are willing to help the mom and the child stay underground for a period of time, and who have the resources to support the mom and the child."
In court testimony, Daniel Hauser said he would physically fight anyone who tried to treat him with chemotherapy.
Colleen Hauser's sister died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when Daniel was 5. Colleen Hauser believes that her sister died as a result of the chemotherapy, not the cancer. During his testimony last week Daniel said that he, too, believed chemotherapy killed his aunt.
The Hausers are Roman Catholic and also believe in the "do no harm" philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians.
Colleen Hauser testified earlier that she had been treating his cancer with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and other natural alternatives.
The founder of Nemenhah, Philip Cloudpiler Landis, said it was a bad idea for Colleen Hauser to flee with her son.
"She should have gone to court," Landis said. "It's how we work these things out. You don't solve anything by disregarding the order of the judge."
Anthony Hauser now agrees that Daniel needs to be taken back to a doctor for re-evaluation for the best treatment, said Calvin Johnson, an attorney for the parents.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)