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Chemo-resisting teen could start treatment Thursday, in parent custody

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After a court hearing Wednesday, 13-year-old Daniel Hauser was returned to his parent's custody following a week-long search for him and his mother led them back home under a national spotlight.

Daniel had fled the state after a judge ruled he must undergo chemotherapy for his Hodgkin's lymphoma against his family's wishes and religious beliefs. They returned a week later after their apparent plan in California fell through.

In what appears to be a change of heart, the Hausers now say they will follow the judge's order and put Daniel through chemotherapy treatment.

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Telling Colleen and Anthony Hauser he would take them "at their word," District Judge John Rodenberg gave them a second chance, despite their defiance to his previous order requiring chemo and the suspected attempt by Daniel and his mother to flee to Mexico.

"We're starting over right now," Rodenberg said Tuesday, looking directly from the bench at the parents. "Understood?"

A family friend, Dan Zwackman, said after the hearing that the parents' views were "tilted" in favor of chemo Tuesday through talks with someone they trusted. Also persuasive were results from exams at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis on Monday showing Daniel's tumor had grown larger and caused painful pressure in his chest.

The parents from Sleepy Eye, Minn., also had the pressure of knowing they wouldn't regain custody of their son if they continued to object.

While they appeared ready to go through with the treatment, Daniel and his mother were planning to head to Mexico just a week ago to find alternative treatments. People close to the family say they were misled by a lawyer in California who promised to take them over the border and bailed when the national spotlight became too big and risky, says the Star Tribune.

Alan Pezzuto, a film producer from Corona, Calif., said the Hausers' trip to Southern California quickly went awry last week, and he accused attorney Susan Daya of ditching Colleen Hauser and her son. "She took two people who were naive about the judicial and medical systems and, for self-serving reasons, enticed them to leave Minnesota,'' Pezzuto, 56, said in a telephone interview from his home.

He said Daya "abandoned them" within a day of their arrival "when the water got too hot for her."