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Sheriff: Hausers possibly headed to Mexico for treatment

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Daniel Hauser
Daniel Hauser, 13, has Hodgkin's lymphoma, but has left his Sleepy Eye, Minn. home with his mother Colleen rather than undergo court-ordered chemotherapy.
MPR Photo/Sea Stachura

The Brown County Sheriff says 13-year-old Daniel Hauser and his mother Colleen are possibly in or headed to Mexico seeking treatment of Daniel's Hodgkin's lymphoma. 

Sheriff Rich Hoffmann says they were last seen in southern California in the early morning hours of Tuesday. The two disappeared the day before when it appeared the courts would likely force Daniel to undergo chemotherapy. Both he and his mother vigorously oppose that option, preferring alternative medical treatments. 

Colleen Hauser
Colleen Hauser has disappeared with Daniel from their Sleepy Eye home rather than have him undergo court-ordered chemotherapy.
MPR photo/Sea Stachura

Authorities in Minnesota say the Hausers are reported to have been in the Los Angeles California area. Daniel's father, Tony Hauser remains in Minnesota and is cooperating with the investigation. 

This afternoon, Sheriff Hoffman made an appeal for the mother of a 13-year boy with cancer to turn herself and her son in to authorities. 

Colleen and Daniel Hauser have not been seen since missing a court hearing Tuesday over the boy's court-ordered chemotherapy.  

Daniel has Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer that is highly treatable with chemotherapy. Police across the country are searching for the pair. They believe the mother and son may be accompanied by a man who escaped his own chemotherapy 10 years ago.  

Sheriff Rich Hoffmann says Brown County is getting local, state and national tips, and says Daniel's father, Anthony, is cooperating with the police. Anthony Hauser has told police where he believes Colleen might have taken their son.

Hauser family
Colleen, Daniel and Tony Hauser from Sleepy Eye, Minn. sit on the lawn of their dairy farm.
MPR Photo/Sea Stachura

Authorities suspect Daniel and Colleen Hauser may be with Susan Daya Hamwi and or Billy Joe Best. Daya is a Los Angeles-based lawyer who specializes in juvenile and indigenous rights. She is also a member of Nemenhah, the religious group the family belongs to. 

Best is a Hodgkin's survivor from the Boston-area. In 1996, when he was 16, he ran away from home to avoid getting chemotherapy for his Hodgkin's lymphoma. He only returned home after his parents and the state of Massachusetts agreed to let Best treat his Hodgkin's with alternative medicine exclusively. He is now cancer-free.

The family's doctor, James Joyce, testified by telephone that he examined Daniel on Monday, and that an X-ray showed his tumor had grown to the size it was when he was first diagnosed.

      "He had basically gotten back all the trouble he had in January," the doctor said.

      Joyce testified that he offered to make appointments for Daniel with oncologists, but the Hausers declined, then left in a rush with Daya.

      "Under Susan Daya's urging, they indicated they had other places to go," Joyce said.

Billy Joe Best came to Minnesota for Daniel's court proceedings. The Hausers' lawyer wanted Best to testify in Daniel's defense. Best's parents did not return calls, and the family's lawyer says he doesn't know whether Best is with the Hausers or not. 

Billy Best said in a phone interview he's in Boston and hasn't talked to 13-year-old Daniel Hauser and his mother since they fled.

      An alert issued to police departments around the country had said the Hausers might be traveling with Best, who as a teenager in 1994 ran away from home to Houston to escape chemotherapy for cancer similar to Daniel's.

      Best has said he was cured by natural remedies.

      He says he last saw the Hausers when he was in Minnesota nearly two weeks ago for court hearings. He says he'd help them if they called him.

If police find the Hausers, Daniel would be put in foster care. No criminal charges have been filed against Colleen Hauser. If she knew Daniel's  tumor had grown before she left with him then she could be charged with criminal neglect.

The founder of Nemenhah, Philip Cloudpiler Landis, said it was a bad idea for Colleen Hauser to flee with her son. "You don't solve anything by disregarding the order of the judge," Landis said.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.