OAKLAND — Louis Ross, foster father of Hasanni Campbell, described jail as "hell" and refused to answer questions about the police investigation into the boy's disappearance after he was released from jail tonight.
Ross was released from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin at 6:30 p.m. wearing black sweatpants, a white hat and white long-sleeve shirt. He was unshaven and visibly angry. Asked what it was like in jail, he said: "One word: hell."
He said he and fiancee Jennifer Campbell, the boy's foster mother and aunt, would continue looking for the boy, who Ross reported missing Aug. 10.
"As long as I have got breath in my body, we will search for Hasanni," he said.
The couple were arrested Friday. Ross was released today and Campbell on Monday because of "insufficient evidence," Assistant District Attorney Tom Rogers said.
Hasanni's 1-year-old sister was taken into protective custody after the boy's disappearance. Campbell went to court today and learned that her parental rights are being severed and that the girl will be put up for adoption. "I basically will never see her again," Campbell said tonight while awaiting Ross' release from jail.
Ross, who was arrested at the family's Fremont home, said he was told to step out of the house, identify what he was wearing and put his hands up. He waived his rights and talked to police for a little while Friday afternoon and then asked to speak to attorney John Burris, who has been counseling Ross, 38, and Campbell, 30.
"I told the same story I told to the detectives," Ross said tonight. "They got the same story, but they weren't happy with that story. They wanted something else."
Several times while speaking to the media after his release, he called the police investigation "irrelevant."
"We are going to do what we need to do as parents," he said. "We don't care what (the police) do."
Oakland police today released a video that they say shows the last time Hasanni, 5, was seen in public.
The video shows the boy with his sister and foster parents at a Fremont Wal-Mart around 8 p.m. Aug. 6. Ross told police Hasanni went missing Aug. 10 from behind the Rockridge shoe store where Campbell works.
Acting police Chief Howard Jordan said the Alameda County district attorney's decision not to press charges against Ross was "unfortunate."
"We know for a fact Hasanni Campbell never made it to Oakland that day," Jordan said. Jordan said the investigation is continuing and that Ross and Campbell could be rearrested.
Campbell said tonight that after her neighbors told police that they hadn't seen Hasanni for three weeks before his reported disappearance, she produced a receipt showing that the family had gone shopping at the Wal-Mart on Aug. 6.
Campbell said police have told her that they have evidence that the couple is implicated in this crime but that they will not say what it is.
"I don't know what type of evidence they plan to come up with," she said. "I know I am innocent, and I know Louis is innocent."
Campbell said she last saw Hasanni around 7 a.m. Aug. 10 while the boy was still sleeping. She said she kissed him goodbye and went to work. "It's been a living a nightmare ever since," she said.
She said that when she returned to her house Monday after being released from jail, every room was a mess from a police search conducted Friday after the couple's arrest. A couch was flipped over, things were pulled out of dressers and cupboards, Hasanni's clothing was out of the closet and some of her paperwork was missing. "Everything is everywhere," she said. "They went through every single room."
Investigators, who are treating the case as a homicide, said today they have no substantial open leads and will not be conducting any more searches for Hasanni unless they receive new information.
"We believe we have a case, and there is a lot of information we can't make public while the investigation is open," said Oakland police spokesman Officer Jeff Thomason. "But the video we're releasing is big. This is the last time anyone other than our two suspects confirmed Hasanni was alive."
Thomason said the Oakland police investigation has not included searches in Monterey, where Ross lived until about nine months ago according to a former housemate.
"There are probably only two people who know where Hasanni is, and those are our suspects," Thomason said.
Burris said he has lined up criminal lawyers to defend the foster parents should charges be filed in the future.
There will be a search Saturday at Fremont's Lake Elizabeth at 40000 Paseo Padre Parkway. Volunteers may meet at the main entrance at 9 a.m. Experienced divers are needed to help out. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or call 510-276-9090.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Hasanni's whereabouts. Anyone with information may call Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572 or 510-777-3211 or Sgt. Gus Galindo at 510-238-7934.