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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

TB Patient Escapes to Moscow

A tuberculosis patient held for months in a U.S. hospital jail ward has fled to Russia, unable to "take the abuse" any more, his lawyer said.

Robert Daniels, 27, who was suffering from a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis after returning home to Arizona from Russia last year, had been placed in solitary confinement in a Maricopa Medical Center jail ward in August 2006 under court order after medical authorities complained that he had endangered others.

Daniels, who is known as Robert Danilov in Russia, holds both U.S. and Russian citizenship. He was born in Moscow to an American father and Russian mother.

He underwent lung surgery last month and doctors ruled that he was no longer contagious. He had been living in a Phoenix-area motel under monitoring by Maricopa County public health officials for the past few weeks.

Lawyer Linda Cosme said Daniels sent her an e-mail from Moscow after arriving there on a flight Sunday.

"He apologized," Cosme said. "Essentially, he could not take the abuse from the county. He felt threatened [by sheriff Joe Arpaio]. He just couldn't take it any more."

Daniels may face trouble if Russian authorities find he still has tuberculosis, a spokeswoman for the Health and Social Development Ministry said.

If he entered the country as a Russian citizen, authorities would be required to quarantine and treat him, while if he arrived as a foreigner, they would be required to deport him, said the spokeswoman, who declined to give her name.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy said she had no information about Daniels' arrival in Russia.

Phone calls to the Federal Border Service were not answered Tuesday.

Following complaints from health officials, an Arizona judge had ruled that Daniels recklessly exposed others to his illness by going out in public without a mask.

While in custody, the authorities treated Daniels as an inmate, confining him in isolation and under video surveillance most of the time. Daniels was not given a phone, shower, television or other comforts.

Arpaio -- stung by negative news accounts about his treatment of Daniels -- said Monday that he intended to have the man arrested for reckless endangerment but was prevented from doing so because investigators had been unable to get medical files as evidence.

Arpaio said he believed Daniels was under court order not to leave the United States.

"Maybe now [the public] will understand this guy is untrustworthy," Arpaio told The Arizona Republic in its Tuesday editions. "He lies ... and he skipped. What, did the heat get too much for him? He had to run to Russia?"