The quest by Nancy Cruzan's family for legal permission to let their comatose daughter die could get a boost from new evidence and the state's desire to get out of the case.

Missouri Attorney General William Webster, who won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June preventing removal of the 33-year-old woman's feeding tube, said in mid-September that the state has "no recognizable legal interest" in the case."We were in it initially to represent the state hospital because there was no law. Now there is case law as stated by the Missouri Supreme Court and upheld by the Supreme Court," he said.

Webster also said Missouri's health director recently signed an affidavit saying if the court orders the feeding tube removed, the state will carry out the directive.

And Joe and Joyce Cruzan said last week that three people are willing to testify about discussions with their daughter concerning life-sustaining treatment before the 1983 car crash that left her in a comalike condition.

They have asked Jasper County Probate Judge Charles Teel to hear the new evidence. A hearing is expected to be held in November.

"It removes the principal opposition. Now that they (the state) want out, that means there are only two parties left in, the family and myself. It would help them out," Thad McCanse, Nancy Cruzan's court-appointed attorney.

McCanse won't say what position he will take on the new evidence, but he had previously urged the courts to side with the family.

Even so, Joe Cruzan refuses to be optimistic after many disappointments.