Nationwide search launched for mother of boy found dead on trail near Las Vegas

Nationwide search launched for mother of boy found dead on trail near Las Vegas

Police launched a nationwide search for the mother of a boy whose body was found on a hiking trail near Las Vegas last month.

Samantha Moreno Rodriguez is accused of killing the boy, and an arrest warrant seeking nationwide extradition was approved, homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The boy, identified Monday as 7-year-old Liam Husted of San Jose, California, left San Jose with his mother four days before his body was found, officials said. The boy was last seen with 35-year-old Rodriguez in a 2007, dark blue Dodge Caliber on May 24, police said.

It’s not clear exactly why investigators believe she killed the boy, and, Spencer said, “There’s nothing that would indicate any prior abuse that we’re aware of.”

The boy’s father was informed of the identification and death Monday, he said.

Hikers found Liam’s body in the town of Mountain Springs, about 30 miles of west of Las Vegas, the morning of May 28. authorities said. Detectives believe the body was placed on the trail sometime the previous night.

After distributing an artist’s sketch of the boy, a woman immediately came forward to claim he was her 8-year-old son who was traveling with his father and an older half-brother, all missing. However, when the three turned up safe May 29, authorities were back to square one with an unidentified body.

Spencer said a San Jose police sergeant called him Friday night to say the missing boy might be related to the case of a missing mother and son in his jurisdiction.

Detectives believe the mother and son traveled to the California cities of Laguna Beach and Victorville May 26, the lieutenant said. The Dodge Caliber was then seen near Grand Junction, Colorado, May 29, he said.

Rodriguez “checked in by herself” to a Denver-area hotel, May 31, which is the last time Rodriguez has been seen, Spencer said.

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