Chemo resister, lawyer may be involved

  • Article by: CHEN MAY YEE
  • Star Tribune
  • May 20, 2009 - 8:47 PM

As the Hauser manhunt expanded Wednesday, two new names were added to the list of characters who might have some involvement: Billy Joe Best and Susan Daya.

Both were named in a national crime alert issued Tuesday by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as possible traveling companions of the missing Hausers.

Best, a Massachusetts resident, is himself a cancer survivor who resisted chemotherapy as a teenager, ran away from home, and lived to become something of a hero in the alternative-medicine community. Best, now in his 30s, turned up in New Ulm this month to show his support for the Hausers. But he was back in Massachusetts this week and, reached Wednesday by the Star Tribune, said he had played no part in the pair's disappearance.

Susan Daya remained a bit more mysterious.

The woman who, according to court testimony, accompanied Colleen and Daniel to a doctor's appointment in Sleepy Eye on Monday is a California attorney with a tiny law firm that specializes in resolving family disputes.

Daya and a partner operate the business, called Settlement Works, out of a 57-foot yacht named Concordance in Marina del Rey, according to the company's website.

Daya is also known as Susan Hamwi. Calls to the firm were not returned Wednesday. A call to her home office yielded a "Memory full" recording for voicemail.

Settlement Works charges $400 an hour to help divorcing couples work out issues such as child support and custody through mediation "while addressing and healing the unresolved emotional issues of divorce."

According to the website, Daya holds a law degree from Loyola Law School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She has been a member of the State Bar of California since 1989.

According to her company website, Daya is also a certified Kundalini yoga teacher who "since childhood, has dreamed of building peace on earth." Her profile on Twitter, the social messaging site, includes the description: "Indigenous natural healing rights advocate."

Chen May Yee • 612-673-7434

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