A look at the Liam Husted case, identification process

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Detectives are interviewing Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, the mother of 7-year-old Liam Husted. She’s accused of killing her own child.

Police say they believe Moreno Rodriguez took Liam’s life here in the Las Vegas area, but the case spans at least three states: California, Nevada and Colorado.

The 35-year-old was taken into custody at a hotel in Denver Tuesday. An arrest warrant was issued Monday after the remains of her son were identified.

The identification process took about 10 days. In the meantime, police say Liam’s father, who lived with the mother and child, reached out to San Jose Police on June 1 with concerns. He hadn’t seen them, but he was hesitant and didn’t want to get the mother in trouble.

Metro Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer described sort of a “Dear John” message the father received on May 24. He says there was no indication the mother would harm the child.

“She specifically tells him, quote, ‘I’m sorry I had to do it like this.’ She also goes onto say that ‘I’m going to try to get a house for Liam and I’ and that ‘We can talk about this in the future,'” Spencer shared. “There was nothing suspicious in that message that would lead the father to believe that Liam or Samantha were involved in any kind of foul play or that there was any harm potentially to come.”

The timeline of this case is as follows:

  • May 27: Liam appears to be alive in Las Vegas, staying in a hotel with his mother
  • May 28: Body of Liam Husted discovered near a hiking trail in the Las Vegas area
  • June 1: Father reaches out to San Jose PD
  • June 4: Friend of Moreno Rodriguez reaches out to San Jose PD, pointing out the sketch released from Las Vegas Police resembles Liam

The identification process was fast-tracked, and investigators say that’s how this case was solved.

We asked Spencer about this process, which he calls “time-consuming” and “complicated.”

“I’ll tell you what I have learned in the last 10 days is how many missing children there are nationally,” the lieutenant said. “I was inundated with reports of missing children from all over the United States, and when I said we had hundreds of tips come in, we were going through all of those because there are so many missing children.”

Moreno Rodriguez is expected to be extradited to Las Vegas.

The I-Team asked police whether they believe Liam was the victim of long-term abuse. Spencer says there’s no indication of that, and detectives are working to try to find a possible motive.

So far, this investigation has taken nearly two weeks. Investigators call Rodriguez Moreno’s arrest some sense of closure.

“It’s emotionally draining, working a case like this,” Spencer shared. “Being able to have closure and identify Liam was very important, and now that we’re able to make an arrest on this case is extremely gratifying.”

Police have not released how Liam was killed. They have an idea, but they are waiting for the coroner to finish the autopsy before they release any information.

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