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Foster father of missing boy leaves home with police

on August 14, 2009

The foster father of missing five-year-old Hasanni Campbell was questioned by police today and left his home in Fremont with officers, said a prominent Oakland attorney who has been consulting with the foster parents.

Attorney John Burris could not confirm where the police and Louis Ross, the foster father, were going, but said that they were in a car, driving around the area.  The home is on the 5900 block of Roxie Terrace in North Fremont.

The missing boy, who has cerebral palsy, was last seen by Ross outside of a shoe store in the Rockridge district of North Oakland Monday afternoon, Ross told police.

The F.B.I. and Oakland Police have been canvassing the neighborhood and searching for witnesses, but no trace of the boy has been found, authorities said.  Fremont detectives also searched a park near the boy’s house in Fremont, but found nothing.

The boy’s biological parents live in San Francisco, and police said they have spoken with them, but would not give out further information.

“Hasanni does not wander away,” Ross said Wednesday evening during a sometimes emotional interview.  He invited three reporters into his home, where he lives with Jennifer Campbell, the boy’s foster mother and aunt and one-year old sister, who was reportedly taken into custody earlier this week.

The house was full of reminders of the two children; empty strollers and baby toys were visible from the living room and a small pink sandal lay on the wooden floor.

During the 20-minute interview, Ross sought to dispel what he considered false facts including the report of Hasanni’s leg braces. He wears “ankle braces,” or orthopedics designed to help shape his feet. He can still walk without them, Ross said.

When asked if he believed that someone he knew might be behind the disappearance, Ross said, “As a father, those are thoughts you don’t entertain. This has been a nightmare.”

Ross refused to discuss legalities of the case with reporters.

He told police on Monday that he parked his car near Shuz of Rockridge at 6012 College Ave where his fiancé, Hasanni’s aunt and foster mother, works. Ross said he went into the store to open a back door so his disabled son could enter more easily, but when he returned to the car, the boy was gone.

Police did not say whether any witnesses saw the five-year-old boy in the parked car.

Hasanni is three feet tall, weighs 40 lbs and is African American; he has short black hair and brown eyes and was wearing a gray sweatshirt and sweatpants. Anyone with knowledge of the incident should call the Oakland Police Special Victims Section: 510 238 3641.

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