Family of dead infant shocked, looking for answers

As San Francisco homicide detectives investigate the suspicious death of 5-month-old Camille Ferguson, her family searches for answers.

“I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m mad, I’m confused, I’m lost,” Camille’s mother, Leidi Ferguson, said Thursday in a telephone interview.

Camille’s father, Anthony Theard, is the only suspect police have identified in her death. He has not been charged with any crime, but is in custody on a parole violation.

“It’s a mess. We’re confused. We’re mad. We don’t know [what happened],” Theard’s cousin, who identified herself as Butterfly Irvin, said Thursday. Theard’s two brothers and two sisters, his mother, cousins and other relatives gathered at the family’s home in San Francisco to wait for news and to support Theard and Ferguson as best they could.

On Sunday, Theard called police to report that Camille had been snatched from the passenger seat of the silver 2002 Cadillac he had parked on 18th Street near Mission Street while he ran into a corner smoke shop. Police launched a massive but ultimately fruitless search for Camille, whom they considered a kidnap victim.

But on Tuesday, Theard, who was on parole for an April conviction for attempted pimping, was arrested for a parole violation after parole agents suspected child endangerment. Shortly after midnight, police reported, Theard led investigators to Camille’s body, located in a rough, remote area of John McLaren Park, near the Cow Palace.

Leidi Ferguson was staying at the house with Theard’s family, waiting for information and resting. “It’s a stressful time,” she said. When she last saw Theard earlier this week, he was “worried like I was,” she said. But she said she doesn’t know what she would say to Theard now. “I don’t know the facts yet. I’m just confused.”

Police have not classified Camille’s death as a homicide, nor have they determined the cause of death. On Thursday, Officer Maria Oropeza said the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office was investigating the death.

Ferguson said she didn’t want to talk about specifics of the case because so few facts are known. “I don’t want people speculating and saying stuff that’s not true,” she said.

Police investigators have been supportive, Ferguson said. “They’re trying to tell me as much as possible. They’re helpful. They understand what I’m going through right now,” she said.Irvin said the family is confused and hungry for information about what happened. “We still love him [Theard]. We just want to know what happened,” she said.

amartin@examiner.com

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