15-year-old boy confesses to murder of his parents

January 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
A 15-year-old boy is in custody accused of killing his parents. Friends, family and co-workers of the couple all used some of the same words to describe them -- selfless and caring.

People have been coming by the house all day to bring flowers and pay their respects to Susan Poff and Robert Kamin. They're trying to understand what happened. ABC7 was told the boy had some problems adjusting to a new school, he was going through some kind of depression -- perhaps the normal teenage rebellion thing -- but no one ever suspected murder.

"You know she's a very important part of the reason I'm still alive," said Stephen Allen, Poff's patient.

Allen was once homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol until he met Susan Poff, more than a decade ago when she worked for the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic. Poff's husband Robert Kamin was a psychologist. While she worked with the homeless, he worked with inmates.

"Another very caring man, worked in a similar profession, a psychologist in the county jail system," said Marc Trotz from the San Francisco Housing and Urban Health Clinic, where Poff worked as a physician assistant.

On Friday night, police arrested the couple's 15-year-old adopted son for their murders. They had taken him in as a foster child and then adopted him nine years ago. Investigators say the boy strangled them and hid their bodies in the family's car.

Oakland police were asked to check on the couple by a coworker who was concerned when they didn't come to work. Police went to the home at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

"Officers did contact an individual at the residence at that time there did not seem to be anything suspicious," said Oakland Police Officer Joanna Watson.

The individual contacted was the couples' son. Police were asked to check on the couple again at 9:30 p.m. the same day. That's when officers made a grim discovery.

"It was determined that there were two bodies inside a vehicle," said Watson.

"Those of us who knew Susan knew she was struggling with a teen, but nothing unusual. Certainly, no expression of fearing or anything like that," said Trotz.

"I've been describing it as unbelievable, but you have to come around to believing it. I've been getting a lot of support from friends and family - that part has been great," said Bruce Kamin, Robert's brother.

Kamin says he saw a lot of the child when he was young, but it became more difficult as he grew older.

"You've got a kid who's basically you can call it killing himself. It's sort of a suicide involved in the whole thing," said Kamin.

The flowers in front of the couple's home have been growing since friends and co-workers learned about the murders. Those they helped over the years were among the most distraught. Allen says he's sober and clean because of Poff.

"She really cared and she wanted to see that the people she treated were taken care of and succeeded. And I have to admit that one of their reasons I'm still here 15 years later is because of Susan was in my life," said Allen.

Police say the boy has confessed to the murders. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile. The district attorney will prosecute him on Tuesday as an adult. His arrangement is Tuesday afternoon.