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Octuplets mom receives death threats

CALIFORNIA'S octuplets mom, already jobless and receiving food stamps, has gone into hiding with her six older children because of death threats, her spokesman said on Wednesday.

Nadya Suleman, 33, has come under mounting public ridicule for expanding her already large family via fertility treatments that led to the January 26 birth of six boys and two girls at a Los Angeles-area hospital.

That criticism mushroomed as it was reported she was divorced, living with her parents, unemployed for several years, receiving disability checks for three of her children ?? one of whom is autistic ?? and collecting nearly US$500 a month in food stamps.

She acknowledged those circumstances in a series of NBC television interviews but insisted in a segment aired on Tuesday on "Dateline NBC" that she was "not living off any taxpayer money."

The broadcast drew the highest "Dateline" ratings since a 2007 interview with Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry.

Suleman, who was working toward an advanced degree in counseling, said she owes close to US$50,000 in student loans, which also are her sole source of non-government income.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Kaiser Permanente hospital where the newborns remain is seeking reimbursement for the cost of their care from Medi-Cal, the state's health care program for the poor. Those costs are expected to reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars, the newspaper said.

For the past few days, Suleman and her six older children, aged 2 to 7, have moved into "what we are referring to as an undisclosed location," said Michael Furtney, a public relations consultant working for the family. The Website reported the family was staying at a hotel.

Furtney said Suleman and the PR firm have been deluged with hostile telephone and e-mail messages, some of them containing death threats.

"The bulk of them just rail against her being, as they would refer to her, as a person who's taking advantage of the system, and they just go from there," Furtney said.


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