Hasanni Campbell's foster dad remains chief suspect

August 11, 2010 12:43:34 AM PDT
One year ago 5-year-old Hasanni Campbell was first reported missing. Oakland police say the prime suspect is still the child's foster father, 39-year-old Louis Ross.

"The case is still classified as a missing person's case, but based on the investigation, I feel that Hasanni Campbell met foul play at the hands of Louis Ross and he remains the primary suspect," said Oakland Police Lt. Gus Galindo.

For Oakland homicide investigators this case is not a who done it, it's a how do we prove it without the body of little Hasanni. A year to the day after the child was reported missing by his foster father at a shoe store on College Avenue in Oakland, and after the distribution of more than 10,000 fliers with Hasanni's picture and heavy media coverage, there is no trace of the boy.

"Somebody out there does have that information and we need them to come forward," said Galindo.

It was last Aug. 10 that Ross told police he left his foster child in the car while he ran in to see the boy's aunt and foster mom, Jennifer Campbell, and the boy vanished. The story started changing. No one had seen the boy since a Walmart security camera caught Ross and Campbell together on Aug. 6. Ross failed an FBI polygraph. E-mails were discovered where Ross told the boy's foster mother he wanted to abandon the cerebral palsy victim at a BART station.

Ross and Campbell were arrested for murder, then released for lack of evidence.

A news conference and a vigil were held Tuesday to keep this case in the public eye. Members of Citizens for the Lost Society met with representatives of the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

Since Hasanni's disappearance, there has been a change of heart among several people who stood by the boy's foster parents, including his aunt Trinity Schwabacher.

"I believe my nephew was murdered... by Louis," said Schwabacher.

Sherri-Lyn Miller of Citizens for the Lost Society said she understood why the foster parents stopped talking to police, but can't understand their actions afterward.

"We were there to support them and help them in any way we could, and for them to leave town like this child didn't matter is pretty hard to swallow," said Miller.

The couple had a child together and moved to Arizona where they broke up. Ross is now in Maryland, but Campbell is still in Arizona -- a single mother looking for a job.

"As of two weeks ago, I went out of state with FBI and conducted an interview of Jennifer Campbell regarding the investigation," said Oakland Police Lt. Gus Galindo.

On Tuesday evening, the district attorney told family and friends of Hasanni the $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest could be offered to Campbell, who police believe has crucial information.

And while a group of supporters still remain committed to finding Hasanni, Ross and Campbell have stopped talking to them and since being released from jail, they have made no effort to help find the boy themselves.


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