Mother of California boy found dead along Vegas trailhead arrested in Denver

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The Las Vegas Police Department announced Tuesday morning that the mother of a 7-year-old boy who was found dead last month was arrested in Denver.

Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, 35, of San Jose, California, was arrested Tuesday morning by the Denver Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, led by the FBI.

According to investigators, she left her home in San Jose with her son Liam on May 24 and left a message for her husband saying, “I’m sorry I had to do it like this,” and, “I’m going to try to get a house for Liam and I.”

Liam’s father called police on June 1 to document what happened but declined to press charges or formally file a parental abduction report, because there was no indication he was in danger.

At the same time, investigators from Nevada were working to identify the remains of a boy found near the Mountain Springs trailhead in Clark County on May 28.

Las Vegas Police Lt. Ray Spencer said one of Rodriguez’ friends contacted investigators on June 4 after recognizing a sketch of the unidentified boy as Liam and noticing she hadn’t had contact with her friend in more than a week.

Spencer said investigators believe Rodriguez took Liam and traveled down the Pacific Coast Highway to southern California and then turned to Nevada, where they were seen in the Las Vegas area on May 27 — the day before his body was found nearby.

Police saidthey are “100% confident (Liam) was killed in Clark County.” They also believe Rodriguez was alone at the time.

Investigators believe she then drove to Colorado and checked into a Denver-area hotel on May 31.

She was arrested in Denver around 6 a.m. on June 8. Police say there was a man with her at the time, but they do not believe he has any connection to the case.

Moreno Rodriguez will be booked into an area jail. If she waives extradition, she could be returned to Nevada to face the murder charge by the end of the week. If she chooses to fight extradition, it could take up to 30 days before a decision is made on her return to Nevada.

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