Rodriguez was arrested by the Denver Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, led by the FBI Denver office. Rodriguez was held in Denver pending an extradition to Las Vegas, Nevada.
The body of John “Little Zion” Doe was found on May 28 in Mountain Springs, Nevada, about 30 miles west of the city of Las Vegas, according to the FBI. Authorities sought tips from the public to help identify the boy.
On Monday, June 7, the FBI Las Vegas office announced the boy was identified as 7-year-old Liam Husted from San Jose, California. Authorities were searching for Husted’s mother, identified as Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, as a suspect in the child’s death.
Rodriguez had last been seen in Denver, Colorado, driving a 2007 Dodge Caliber compact SUV with California license plates, checking into a hotel alone.
Rodriguez and Husted left San Jose on May 24, in the vehicle, Las Vegas Metro Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said. The vehicle was “packed full of belongings,” without seating room for anyone else, the Las Vegas Sun reports.
They were seen in Laguna Beach and in Victorville in Southern California two days later, Spencer said. Two days after that, a hiker found the boy’s remains in a “forest area,” the Sun reports.
The boy’s father contacted authorities on June 1. The father is not considered a suspect in the case, Lt. Spencer said.
Police are still trying to determine where the mother and boy stayed May 26, the Associated Press reports. Police believe the body was left near State Route 160 after dark May 27.