Family holds vigil for missing boy

August 18, 2009 12:20:48 AM PDT
The grandmother of a missing disabled boy from Fremont, held a vigil for him in Oakland. It's near the shoe store where he was reported missing a week ago. A $10,000 crime stoppers reward is now being offered for information leading to the whereabouts of Hasanni Campbell.

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Oakland's crime stoppers hope the reward, up to $10,000, will help bring new clues into the disappearance of Hasanni Campbell.

"In a high profile case we get a couple hundred, hundreds of calls, which gives us good leads that we can follow up on. In this case we've had less than 50," said Officer Jeff Thomason from Oakland Police.

Crime Stoppers of the Bay Area is also willing to add up to $2,000 for information that will help solve this case.

Burny Matthews is a former East Palo Alto police chief. He also worked in Oakland and Alameda.

"It gives a reason for somebody that may be on the edge, they may need the money really badly and he or she is willing to give some information to police to just give that one little brick that will finish the wall in that investigation," said Matthews.

The child's foster father has told police the 5-year-old went missing behind a shoe store in Rockridge last Monday. Louis Ross and his fiancée, Jennifer Campbell, the boy's aunt, have cooperated with investigators.

Hasanni has cerebral palsy and wears leg braces.

FBI agents have joined the case and have helped searched the family's home in Fremont.

Police have canvassed the Rockridge area and other surrounding cities. On Saturday, volunteers searched two parks in Fremont and Hayward.

"And there are no signs of this boy and we want to try to locate him. It's been a number of days now. The more days that pass, the less likely we are to find him alive," said Officer Thomason.

Both foster parents attended the vigil and they said they are not giving up the in search for Hasanni

"If you want to help keep our son in the news, don't let him become a picture in a milk carton box, five years after when he was never found," said Ross. "You want to help, that's what you do."

The boy's grandmother told ABC7 that she believes Ross had nothing to do with the little boy's disappearance. Police also said they are in contact with the foster father every day.

Hasanni's foster father speaks out

Hasanni Campbell's foster parents have been dogged by the fact that no one, other than the foster father, can place Hasanni in the busy Rockridge area on the day he disappeared.

"There's a lot of speculation out there in the media. These are our children. Don't try and take that from us," said Ross.

The foster parents of missing Hasanni tried to dispel the perception that they're somehow involved in the boy's disappearance.

"We were asked 'Why did you all care so much?' He was a damn child?that's why we cared. If we didn't who would? He sat in foster care for two years!" said Ross.

Several months ago, Ross and Hasanni's aunt, Jennifer Campbell, became Hasanni's legal guardians.

"If you have him, let them go. Let him go," said Ross.

The couple believes Hasanni was abducted while waiting at the back door of the shoe store where Jennifer works. They say it was routine for Louis to walk to the front of the store and tell Jennifer to let Hasanni in so the boy could wait in the stockroom while she finished her shift.

"I just want him home. I just want him safe. I just want him in his bed, in our house," said Jennifer Campbell.

A publicized vigil was held, Monday night, one week after Hasanni vanished, but only eight people including a former shoe store co-worker showed up in this part of Oakland.

"To be truthful, I think most of it is because this is their neighborhood and it makes the neighborhood look bad. Things like this do not happen in this neighborhood," said Charity Edmondson, aunt's co-worker.

Because of the missing case, the couple also lost custody of Hasanni's 1-year-old sister. Until the 5-year-old comes home, the couple says they'll hold a vigil at the store every Monday at 4:15 p.m. -- the time the Hasanni disappeared.

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