An attorney who has consulted with the foster parents of 5-year-old Hasanni Campbell, who was reported missing three weeks ago and is now believed to have been murdered, said today that he's "glad" that no charges are being filed against the foster mother.
Oakland attorney John Burris said he's not surprised that the Alameda County District Attorney's office isn't filing any charges against 30-year-old Jennifer Campbell, the boy's foster mother and aunt, because he believes "there was no factual basis for her to be arrested."
Burris said being arrested was traumatic for Campbell, who is six months pregnant, and caused her "a great deal of emotional harm."
Campbell, who is the sister of Hasanni's mother, was arrested about 1:50 p.m. Friday at the Union City BART station. She had tentatively been scheduled to be arraigned at 2 p.m. today in Alameda County Superior Court.
But Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said Campbell will be released from custody later today because there's insufficient evidence at this time to charge her as an accessory in the murder of Hasanni, whose body hasn't been found. However, the investigation into the boy's disappearance is continuing, Rogers said.
The boy, who has cerebral palsy, was reported missing from the parking lot of the Shuz of Rockridge shoe store in the 6000 block of College Avenue in Oakland at about 4:15 p.m. on Aug. 10.
Rogers said he's still reviewing police reports to see if there's enough evidence to file murder charges against the boy's foster father, 38-year-old Louis Ross.
If charges are filed, Ross will likely be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Rogers said.
Ross was arrested at about 2:45 p.m. Friday at the home at 5997 Roxie Terrace in Fremont where he and Campbell lived with Hasanni and another child.
Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said Friday that police are no longer considering the case to be a missing-persons case and instead are investigating it as a homicide.
Thomason couldn't immediately be reached for comment today.
Burris said he thinks that that the Oakland Police Department arrested Campbell as "a tactic to intimidate her to talk" and disclose incriminating evidence against Ross.
He said, "She hadn't done anything wrong but the police didn't accept that."
Burris said he was in the process of finding a lawyer to represent Campbell in case she appeared in court, but that he won't have to do so now that she is being released.
However, he said he has found a lawyer to represent Ross in the event charges are filed against him.