Jensens Surrender at Courthouse

Jensens Surrender at Courthouse

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The parents charged with kidnapping their cancer-stricken son from Utah to avoid court-ordered chemotherapy treatments surrendered Wednesday at the state courthouse.

Daren and Barbara Jensen, who fled to Idaho after a juvenile court judge ordered them to get the treatment for the 12-year-old boy, arrived at the Salt Lake City courthouse before 9 a.m.

The Jensens surrendered and were charged with two crimes: child kidnapping, and custodial interference.

The couple made a brief appearance before 3rd District Court Judge Denise Lindberg and left the courthouse from a private exit, saying nothing to reporters. While waiting for the judge to appear in the courtroom, Daren Jensen refused questions. "Not right now," he said.

In May, a doctor at Primary Children's Medical Center found that Parker Jensen had Ewing's sarcoma, a deadly cancer. The doctor wanted to start the boy on chemotherapy.

The Jensens asked for more medical tests, saying they were worried about the severe side-effects of the treatment.

After meeting with the family five times, the doctor called the Division of Child and Family Services to make a medical neglect claim because they refused chemotherapy.

The Jensens have alleged Primary Children's hampered their attempts to get an unbiased second opinion.

Ignoring Juvenile Court Judge Robert Yeates' order to place Parker in state custody to undergo chemotherapy, the couple took their family to Pocatello, Idaho, where Barbara Jensen's parents live.

Prosecutors filed the kidnapping charges Aug. 15. Those warrants were activated only in Utah, while state officials negotiated with the family on the juvenile court case.

The family and state officials agreed last week that Parker would start medical tests again Friday with a board-certified pediatric oncologist in Boise. The couple agreed to get chemotherapy for Parker if that doctor recommends it. The boy will remain in his parents' custody.

Parker was not with his parents as they sat in the front row of a courtroom Wednesday at the Matheson Courthouse.

Jensen attorney Blake Nakamura said negotiations had failed to get the charges against the couple dropped.

"They are being prosecuted right now but we are going to be in negotiations with the state to seek a resolution of these charges," Nakamura said. "We're hopeful we'll get a resolution."

The Jensens were joined at the courthouse by state Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, who argued that he didn't know how the Jensens could make Friday's appointment in Boise if they're being prosecuted in Utah.

But the judge released the couple without bail, and set a hearing on the charges for Oct. 2.

Prosecutors say the Jensens took Parker out of Utah Aug. 8, when they were supposed to deliver him to a Salt Lake City hospital for the start of 49 weeks of chemotherapy.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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