Campbell’s foster parents arrested: murder suspected in missing child case
on August 28, 2009
The foster parents of Hassani Campbell, a five-year-old boy who went missing two weeks ago, were arrested Friday on suspicion of murder, according to Officer Jeff Thomason of the Oakland Police Department.
Louis Ross and his fiancée Jennifer Campbell—the boy’s aunt—were taken into custody in separate arrests today, Thomason said.
“I want to clarify, this is not a missing person case,” Thomason said at an 8 p.m. press conference held at the Oakland Police Department headquarters. “We believe Hassani Campbell has been murdered.”
Thomason would not comment on any evidence uncovered in the investigation nor on the nature of the arrests but said police have yet to recover Hassani’s body. Campbell was arrested at 1:45 p.m. Friday at the Union City BART station and Ross was arrested at his Fremont home at 2:45 p.m., Thomason said.
High profile Oakland attorney John Burris, who has been working with Hassani’s foster parents as an advisor, said the two underwent questioning today and that the arrests were unexpected. “I’m quite surprised as to why they were arrested today,” Burris said at a press conference that took place before Thomason’s statements.
Burris said he has not been hired as an attorney but that he will be assisting the couple. He has previously represented celebrities including Barry Bonds and Tupac Shakur, and in 2003 won a $10.9 million class-action settlement against the Oakland Police Department in the “Riders” case, which accused officers of planting evidence and using excessive force. Earlier this year Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death suit over the January shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer.
Hassani Campbell, who has cerebal palsy, went missing August 10. Ross said the boy disappeared while he went into Shuz of Rockridge, a College Avenue shoe store. Investigators have searched for the boy in Hayward and elsewhere in the Bay Area, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been enlisted to work on the case.
A reward of $10,000 is being offered by the Oakland police for information that helps locate the missing boy. Anyone with information is asked to call (510) 777-8572 or (510) 777-3211.
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