Hasanni's foster parents arrested for murder

August 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Friday, Oakland Police said they are now convinced that 5-year-old Hasanni Campbell was killed and they accused his foster parents of the crime. Both are in jail.

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"We do believe Hasanni Campbell has been murdered," says Oakland Police Officer Jeff Thomason.

Oakland police have yet to find the body of Hasanni, but they insist his foster parents killed him.

Louis Ross and fianc? Jennifer Campbell, Hasanni's aunt, were arrested this afternoon on suspicion of murder. The two were taken separately to the Oakland Police Department late Friday afternoon.

"Right now we have investigators talking to both parties. I want to clarify that this is not a missing persons case anymore. This is a homicide investigation and we are talking to the people responsible," says Officer Thomason.

Police aren't saying what led to the arrests, but investigators have been at the couple's Fremont home all afternoon searching for evidence. Still, Hasanni's birth mother and extended family stand behind Ross and Campbell.

"I'm outraged at the fact that they would arrest my sister and brother in law for something they didn't do," says Shemika Campbell, Hasanni's biological mother.

"I am very surprised that they got arrested because they didn't do anything wrong. They love those kids like there were, you know, their own," says Trinity Schwabacher, Hasanni's aunt.

Hasanni was reported missing on August 10th. Ross told police he disappeared when he left him unattended for a few minutes behind a Rockridge shoe store where Jenifer Campbell works. Police dogs, however, never picked up Hasanni's scent.

Then, investigators discovered a text message on Ross's cell phone where he threatened to abandon Hassani at a BART station. Through it all, the couple maintained their innocence. Attorney John Burris has been offering them legal advice and he believes the arrest is nothing more than tactic to get the couple to talk.

"It would not surprise me in any way that police would seek to divide and conquer, by arresting, to see if one or more of the persons have something to say that they have not already said," says Burris.

Little Hasanni had cerebral palsy and police say at one point Louis Ross expressed misgivings about caring for a developmentally disabled child.

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