Samantha Moreno Rodriguez San Jose California woman arrested for the murder of special needs son Liam Husted after manhunt issued. Boy’s body found along hiking trail.
A California woman suspected of killing her 7-year-old special-needs son was arrested Tuesday in Denver, Colorado, police said.
Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, 35, of San Jose, was taken into custody following a nationwide manhunt for the wanted mother, Las Vegas police announced Tuesday.
Rodriguez was booked into a local jail pending her extradition back to Las Vegas, department officials said.
Rodriguez had been being sought on a murder warrant in the slaying of 7-year-old Liam Husted after hikers stumbled upon the boy’s remains along the Mountain Springs Trailhead between Las Vegas and Pahrump late May. The boy’s body was linked to a missing persons case his father had filed days earlier.
Rodriguez, who left her California home with her son on May 24, was last seen on May 31 while checking into a hotel in Denver, Las Vegas police said Monday.
Mother left shared home with father with son with bags full
The boy’s father, who is not a suspect in the case, contacted authorities on June 1 where he filed a missing persons case for the boy, the Mercury News reported.
‘The father did not feel that his son was in harm’s way,’ Spencer said at a press conference. ‘Not trying to get the mother into trouble, he did not want to file any type of charges or anything.’
Of note, the boy’s parents, while not married lived together at a San Jose compound. It wasn’t until after May 24 that the mother left with her son, only to not return or give her whereabouts to the boy’s father KTVU reported.
Lt. Ray Spencer told reporters Rodriguez left the home with her 2007 Dodge Caliber packed full of belongings.
It wasn’t until this weekend that a nationwide arrest warrant for open murder was issued for Rodriguez, KTNV reported.
‘She saw news coverage from our case here in Las Vegas and saw the composite sketch that was pushed out to the media,’ Spencer told reporters, according to CBS San Francisco.
Spencer said mother and son were also spotted in Laguna Beach and Victorville in California on May 26, just two days before Liam’s body was discovered. The manner and cause of the boy’s death was not disclosed.
No known motive
Police suspect the boy was the victim of a homicide and said his body had been recently placed near the trail near State Route 160 outside Las Vegas prior to being found.
It’s unclear why Rodriguez left San Jose and investigators were still working Monday to determine a motive in the slaying, Spencer said.
‘There’s nothing at this point that would indicate there’s any prior abuse that we’re aware of,’ Spencer told reporters. ‘We’re still interviewing family and friends, trying to piece all that together.’
Liam’s grandfather told KTVU the family is ‘devastated’ by the boy’s slaying.
‘Liam was a happy, sweet, innocent child who adored his father,’ Chris Husted said in a statement. ‘It is a complete tragedy … Liam was a special needs child, at a disadvantage and dependent on others’ kindness. Unfortunately, his mother took that away.’