North Mankato parents who withheld food from 8-year old charged with neglect

Date: 2012-11-06

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 2:00 pm | Updated: 11:41 pm, Tue Nov 6, 2012.
By JESSICA BIES | 0 comments

When doctors discovered that Russell and Mona Hauer’s 8-year-old son weighed less than 35 pounds and saw his protruding bones and swollen belly, they suspected he was being neglected. Tests confirmed that not only was he malnourished, but his brain was atrophying and his bones were not growing.
Now the Hauers are faced with six different felonies including neglect and malicious punishment of a child.

According to a complaint filed in Nicollet County District Court on Monday Nov. 5, the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office became <&firstgraph>involved in the case on Oct. 22 after Mona Hauer brought her 8-year-old to the hospital because she thought she found blood on his shirt.<&firstgraph>
Though the stains on his shirt were later revealed to be from a popsicle, doctors discovered that the child was severely malnourished and transferred him to St. Mary’s Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit in Rochester.
<&firstgraph>The complaint alleges that the Hauers had been effectively denying their son food for almost a year. In addition to keeping the child in a room rigged with an alarm to let them know if he was sneaking out to steal food at night, the Hauers kept their son on a “liquid diet” and only fed him drinks made with powdered mix.<&firstgraph>

The Hauers told police that their son had been regurgitating his food since December 2011 and that he had issues with food in general. When the boy first began to sneak out of his bedroom at night to steal food, the Hauers told police they began sleeping outside his door. After doing this for several months, they moved his room to the basement and put an alarm on the door.

<&firstgraph>The Hauers claimed that they put their son on a liquid diet on the advice of the family chiropractor. The chiropractor told police he never meant his advice to be carried out to such extremes.

<&firstgraph>The child told police that he ate compost and nuts from bird-feeders because he was so hungry. He also described using a bucket to go to the bathroom at night because he was not allowed to leave his room.
The Hauers have three other children who were allowed to return home last week, despite prosecutors’ objections.
Though the other three children are not malnourished, they told police that they had been responsible for ensuring that their brother did not take food.
They also told police that their brother had been forced to sleep in a plastic container because he frequently wet the bed. When the container leaked, it was replaced by a sled.

While checking for related incidents involving the family, police found records dating back to 2011.

The victim was found walking along Hwy. 169 in October 2011 by chief deputy police officer Karl Jensen. The child told Jensen that he was walking to the nearest Kwik Trip, nearly three miles away, to get a hamburger because he was hungry.
According to the complaint Jensen bought the child food, but had difficulty determining who the his parents were.
The Hauers are scheduled to next appear in court on Dec. 11.

Reach reporter Jessica Bies at 507-931-8578 or follow her on @sphjessicabies


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