Clock is Ticking for Missing Disabled Boy Hassani Campbell


NEW YORK (CBS) "The longer he's out there and not found, it doesn't look good," Louis Ross says, choking up, in an interview about his missing foster son, 5-year-old Hasanni Campbell.

Campbell disappeared Aug. 10 in Oakland, Calif. when Ross left him in standing near the family car in the parking lot behind the shoe store where his fiancée, Campbell's biological aunt and foster mom, Jennifer Campbell works. Upon seeing that their son had disappeared Ross and Campbell called 911 and began frantically searching.

"Hasanni does not wander away," Ross told CBS 5 San Francisco.

How can Ross be so sure?

Hasanni was born with Cerebral Palsy, a type of permanent disorder that inhibits development of movement and posture, i.e., he had trouble walking, and according to Ross, could do so with concentration.

Contrary to early reports that described him wearing metal braces on his legs, Ross told reporters he wears plastic braces on his feet, which would not be visible over his clothes. He also said that if his son's braces were removed he would still be able to walk, but would be looking down at the ground in focus.

Hasanni was left alone for "about five minutes, probably less," Ross said in the same interview.

When asked what he think did happen in those five minutes, Ross tears up: "as a father, those are thoughts you don't want to entertain."

Jeff Thomason says Ross is mostly likely correct in his assumption that Hassani did not walk away: "anything's possible but it's not likely…right now no witnesses saw Hassani walking away from that area."

The FBI has joined the search, along with several other local agencies. On the day of his disappearance a massive search was launched, including the use of a California Highway Patrol airplane and the K-9 unit. In the past eight days they have gone door-to-door in parts of Oakland and searched numerous locations, including a regional park and his foster parents' home in Freemont.

(Oakland Police Department)
Hassani Campbell, five, disappeared on Aug. 10 when his foster father left him in a parking lot for a mere five minutes.

The police have only received around 50 tips, which Thomason told reporters is an unusually low number for a week-old missing child case.

"We definitely need the public's help," Thomason said to CBS 5.

A $10,000 reward was offered Monday by Oakland Police and Crime Stoppers for information leading to the whereabouts of the boy.

"This is a continuous investigation that will be conducted day and night," Officer Seth Neri said in a press conference.

The Oakland PD has been in touch with the biological mother, who lives in San Francisco, and told Crimesider that she is not a person of interest at this point.

Hasanni was removed from his 25-year-old mother's home because she had physically abused him. Shemika Campbell, who also has Cerebral Palsy, says she thinks someone kidnapped him. In an exclusive interview with CBS 5 she says, "I always had a feeling that he would be gone from me one day."

More at CBS affiliate KPIX San Francisco.