Nicholas Husted San Jose California father attends vigil for his slain 7 year old special needs son, after the boy’s mother was charged in Liam Husted’s murder.
‘I’m sorry, I had to do this,’ A California woman suspected of killing her 7-year-old son is not a ‘bad mom,’ the father of the slain boy said during a Sunday vigil for the special needs child according to reports.
Nicholas Husted made the comment to a crowd of well wishers in Las Vegas’ Sunset Park as he thanked them for their concern for his son, Liam Husted, who had been found dead on a mountain hiking trail outside the Nevada city on May 28.
‘I don’t think she was a bad mom,’ the San Jose, Calif., man said of Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. ‘She had a time of weakness, and she is going to pay for it.’
Rodriguez, 35, was arrested Tuesday in Denver on a nationwide warrant for open murder in her son’s homicide, Las Vegas police announced last week. The 35 year old woman is now awaiting extradition to Las Vegas.
Four days before the special needs’ boy’s body was discovered, Nicholas Husted returned to the couple’s San Jose home to find Rodriguez and their son gone, Las Vegas police Lt. Ray Spencer told reporters last Monday.
“Look how many people love you,” Nicholas Husted said, as if he were talking to little Liam.
— Amanda del Castillo (@AmandaABC7) June 11, 2021
‘I’m sorry, I had to do this,’
Rodriguez fled the residence in her 2007 Dodge Caliber packed full with belongings and left a message for Husted saying, ‘I’m sorry, I had to do this,’ police said.
‘There was nothing suspicious in that message that would lead the father to believe that Liam, or Samantha, was, were involved in any kind of foul play or that there was any harm, potentially to come,’ Spencer previously told reporters.
Nicholas Husted, who is not a suspect in the case, contacted cops on June 1, Spencer said, adding that the couple who shared a residence are not married.
Husted said he last saw Liam — who had autism and was the pair’s only child — one day before police said Rodriguez left their home on May 24.
‘I just had to come to show my appreciation for everything you guys did in this community to take him under your wing,’ Husted said during the vigil. ‘The hardest part was knowing that he was left behind, but he was never by himself.’
Husted characterized his son as ‘one in a trillion,’ describing the boy as intelligent beyond his years, who loved to cook and learned how to swim at just 2 years old. They had a barbecue together just before his disappearance, the father recalled.
Husted, who wore a T-shirt with Liam’s photo on it and the boy’s favorite blanket around his neck, planned on reading a statement at the vigil, but was too overcome with emotion, KSNV reported.
Breach of trust
‘He was twice the personality of me. I probably didn’t deserve him for those seven years,’ the overwhelmed man told attendees.
Meanwhile, others in attendance, despite not knowing the boy’s family, said they were outraged by the allegations that Rodriguez was involved in her son’s death.
‘As a mom, it strikes every cord in my body,’ Natalie Thompson told KSNV. ‘And I wish I could just be there to hug him and love him.’
‘It resonated so deeply in me that I haven’t been able to sleep for the past few weeks,’ another attendee, Dina Lynn, said. ‘I felt the least I could do was to show up.’
Investigators were still working last week to determine a motive in the boy’s slaying, Spencer said.
An online fundraiser set up by Liam’s father, meanwhile, had raised more than $36,000 as of Monday.
‘The hardest part of all this is that he was taken away from me by the one person he should have been able to trust, so he must have been scared and confused and I just wasn’t there to protect him,’ the father wrote.
Rodriguez, who remains jailed Monday, is set to appear in a Denver courtroom Thursday, KVVU reported.
The woman has yet to offer a plea to the charges against her.