When Colleen and Daniel Hauser fled Minnesota last week, it was easy to make the case that their adventure would not end well.
Reports that they might have crossed the border into Mexico in search of alternative treatments for Daniel’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma only fueled the anxiety of Minnesotans who have watched the case unfold with strong and sometimes conflicting emotions. Most agreed on this point: The road was no place for the 13-year-old boy whose onchologist said will need immediate care to avoid suffociation if the tumor in his chest continues to grow.
The Hausers returned to Minnesota on a predawn charter flight Monday, thankfully reuniting Daniel with his father and seven siblings in Sleepy Eye, Minn., and placing him under the watch of Brown County child protection workers and with easy access to excellent medical care.
California criminal defense attorney Jennifer Keller played a key role in bringing the Hausers home safely, negotiating with the FBI and Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffmann and helping arrange for a charter flight home so that Daniel could avoid the attention he surely would have received on a commercial flight.
Throughout the search, Hoffmann and Brown County Attorney James Olson calmly explained that Daniel’s safe return was the goal — not the arrest and prosecution of his mother. They deserve credit for their thoughtful, sensible approach under the kind of intense scrutiny that seldom visits rural Minnesota.
The next important steps in the Hauser drama are expected to unfold at a court hearing scheduled for this afternoon in New Ulm, where Daniel’s custody and medical care will be considered. For now, there is a statewide sense of relief that Daniel is back home.