This will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption. We forewarn you that these are deeply disturbing stories that may involve sex abuse, murder, kidnapping and other horrendous actions.
From Fremont, California, an article about a current missing child has brought up the missing child case of disabled foster child Hasanni Campbell, who was five when he disappeared in 2009. His foster mother was his aunt.
“On Aug. 10, 2009, 5-year-old Hasanni Campbell, who lived in Fremont, vanished. His foster father, Louis Ross, told police he parked in a Rockridge neighborhood, taking his daughter into a shoe store while leaving Hasanni, who wore leg braces due to cerebral palsy, inside the car. When he returned, Hasanni was gone.
Eighteen days later, Oakland police arrested the boy’s foster parents on suspicion of murder before releasing them days later due to lack of evidence. The pair have since left the state, and Oakland police believe Hasanni is dead.”
[Mercury News.com 7/12/13 Matthias Gafni, Kristin J. Bender and Natalie Neysa Alund]
There is a public Facebook page where news is shared on his case. See it here.
This blog discusses angry text messages from the foster father in the days leading up to Hassani’s disappearance:”Soulclap to San Francisco Chronicle for updating us on angry text messages from Louis Ross — the foster father of missing 5-year old Hasanni Campbell.
The foster father of a missing 5-year-old boy with cerebral palsy sent an angry text message threatening to leave the child alone at a BART platform just 10 days before Hasanni Campbell vanished, according to court documents released today.
In addition, Louis Ross “voiced some misgivings” about caring for a disabled child when he talked to officers investigating the child’s Aug. 10 disappearance, according to a statement that Oakland police submitted to justify obtaining a search warrant of Ross’ Fremont home.
According to the police account, Ross sent an expletive-laden text message July 31 to Jennifer Campbell, his fiancee and the aunt and foster mother of Hasanni.
“This is f- over, I will watch her but he will be out on the BART and its your responsibility to hey (sic) him so f – you,” Ross texted at 9:50 a.m., police said. The references appear to be to Hasanni and his 1-year-old sister.
Ross reported Aug. 10 that the boy had vanished from outside a shoe store on College Avenue in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood where Campbell was working. Ross said he had briefly left the boy outside when he went around to the front of the store.
Police have searched the neighborhood, Ross’ home, a Hayward scrap yard that he visited earlier in the day and local parks, but have not found the boy.
A neighbor in Fremont told police that Hasanni had not been seen for about two weeks before Ross reported him missing.
Oakland police Officer Ross Tisdell wrote in the court papers that the relationship between Ross, 38, and Campbell, 33, “appeared to have some instances of domestic violence.”
Police said they had heard reports of a “sword being brandished by Ross at Campbell,” but did not elaborate.
A “sword or cutting instrument” were among the items that police sought in a search of his 2002 BMW and the home on Roxie Terrace in Fremont where Ross lives with Campbell and the two children.
Nothing was seized from the home, but Ross voluntarily gave his cell phone to police, court records show.
In addition to the text message, police described an instance in which Ross apparently left the two children alone in the home “while he went to the bank to conduct a transaction.”
“He had also voiced some misgivings about caring for a developmentally disabled child during the interview,” Tisdell wrote.
Ross, reached by phone today, downplayed any domestic disputes with Campbell.
He said he had sent the text message in frustration at a time when he planned to break up with Campbell.
“It was me venting about a situation in our past that had come back up,” he said. “I was ending the relationship at that point.”
He said he had not left Hasanni alone at BART. He said he had wanted Campbell to pick up the children, but that she had been unable to do so. The dispute quickly cooled, Ross said.
As for the sword, Ross said he had told police about it and that officers had later returned and picked it up. He said he kept it under a mattress.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” he said.
Ross has said he is cooperating with officials “100 percent” and that he told the truth when he took a polygraph examination last week.
John Burris, an attorney who has consulted with the couple, emphasized today that Ross has always cooperated with the investigation.
“He’s very responsive,” Burris said.
The case has been puzzling to authorities in part because bloodhounds could not detect Hasanni’s scent outside the Rockridge shoe store where Ross says he left the boy.
In the search warrant affidavit, police said it was a mystery that Hasanni could disappear from “a crowded business district with no witnesses.”
There is a $10,000 reward for information leading to the boy’s whereabouts. Officer Jeff Thomason, an Oakland police spokesman, said the department still considers the case a missing person investigation. However, a homicide investigator has been put in charge of the case. ”
Hasanni Campbell’s foster dad remains chief suspect[ABC 7 8/11/10 by Terry McSweeney and Alan Wang] says “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.”
The Charley Project gives a great summary of the case here :”Details of Disappearance
Hasanni was reportedly last seen in the Rockridge district of Oakland, California at 4:15 p.m. on August 10, 2009. His foster father, Louis Ross, said he left the child outside his vehicle, a 2002 BMW, in the back parking lot of /Shuz/, a shoe store in the 6000 block of College Avenue. Ross was dropping off Hasanni and his one-year-old sister, Aaliyah, to be with his fiancee, Jennifer Campbell. Jennifer is the children’s aunt and foster mother, and she managed the Shuz store. Photos of Ross and Jennifer are posted below this case summary. Ross took Aaliyah and went ahead to unlock the store door. When he returned to the vehicle, Hasanni was gone. An extensive search of the neighborhood turned up no sign of him. Owing to his cerebral palsy, he couldn’t have gone very far on his own.
Hasanni had been living with his foster parents since December 2008, as his biological mother has health problems and substance abuse problems. Hasanni’s foster parents were reportedly taking legal steps to adopt him when he disappeared. The state division of Children and Family Services had no problems with the couple as foster parents, and noted they conscientiously looked after Hasanni’s medical needs. He was a student at James Leitch Elementary School in 2009.
After the child was reported missing, police impounded Ross’s BMW, took Aaliyah into protective custody and served search warrants on his foster parents’ home in the 5900 block of Roxie Terrace in Fremont, California. Ross took a polygraph test, which he failed; Jennifer refused take a test, saying she was pregnant and was worried the test would affect the fetus. Authorities stated there were incidents of domestic violence in the couple’s relationship, and Ross had misgivings about raising a disabled child. According to court documents, Ross also once left Hasanni and his sister alone at home while he went to the bank. On July 31, ten days before Hasanni disappeared, Ross sent an angry text message to Jennifer threatening to abandon the child on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) platform. He later stated he had simply been angry at Jennifer and had no intention of leaving Hasanni anywhere.
Police expressed skepticism of Ross’s account of Hasanni’s disappearance. The child supposedly vanished in the middle of a busy business district crowded with people, but nobody saw anything unusual, and tracker dogs could not find Hasanni’s scent at the site where he was supposedly last seen. The family’s neighbors stated they hadn’t seen Hasanni since about two weeks before his disappearance was reported. In the investigation, police determined the last time Hasanni was seen by anyone other than his foster parents was on August 6, at a Wal-Mart store in Fremont.
On August 28, eighteen days after Hasanni’s disappearance, his foster parents were arrested on suspicion of murder. Authorities intended to charge Ross with murder and Jennifer as an accessory. However, Jennifer was released on August 31 and Ross on September 1 after prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to file charges against them. Both of them maintain their innocence, but they remain the prime suspects in Hasanni’s disappearance. In November 2008, after Jennifer gave birth to a
daughter, she and Ross ended their relationship and moved out of their Fremont home.
Authorities are no longer actively searching for Hasanni, stating they don’t know where to look. Although Ross and Jennifer maintain he was abducted from Oakland, police continue to believe he was murdered by his foster parents. His case remains unsolved.”
A version of this column originally appeared in www.reformtalk.net.