Identification of murdered child found outside of Las Vegas leads to arrest

Updated image provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Las Vegas, Nevada: Yesterday Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer once again addressed the media, this time to announce that the child victim located outside of Las Vegas on Friday, May 28 had been positively identified and a warrant had been issued for his mother's arrest.


This morning investigators announced that 35-year-old Samantha Moreno Rodriguez of San Jose, California was taken into custody in Denver, Colorado by the Denver Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


She has been booked into the Downtown Detention Center until she can be extradited to Las Vegas on a charge of open murder for the death of her 7-year-old son Liam Husted.


Spencer relayed that Friday night at about 8:00 pm a call came in from a San Jose Police Sgt. stating that they had reason to believe a missing person from their area could potentially be the unidentified victim.


Saturday morning a detective was dispatched to San Jose, California to obtain personal belongings of the child and returned to Las Vegas with those items. On Sunday morning, a forensics technician processed DNA tests in an effort to determine whether or not there was a match.

Late Sunday night those results came back confirming a positive identification.


On May 24 Liam and Rodriguez left the San Jose area in a dark blue 2007 Dodge Caliber packed with personal belongings. Spencer outlined the locations that their vehicle had been traced at including near Laguna Beach, California on May 26, then Hesperia, California later that day.


On May 29 the vehicle was seen on I70 near Grand Junction, Colorado and then on May 31 she checked into a Denver hotel by herself.


Spencer asked that Las Vegas hotels check their records to find whether or not Rodriguez stayed in the valley on either May 27 or 28, and contact Crime Stoppers with that information.


Spencer stated that a family friend was the initiator of the investigation in San Jose. She had contacted police there after seeing images that had been provided by LVMPD as she had not heard from either Rodriguez or Liam in two weeks.


Liam's father reported his son missing on June 1 after not being able to reach Rodriguez. He told investigators that he had no reason to suspect his son was in danger and did not press charges as he was "not trying to get the mother intro trouble." Spencer went on to elaborate saying, "There's no involvement whatsoever that we suspect on his behalf."


Spencer said that they were not currently aware of any history of child abuse related to the case but also indicated that the investigation is still active and ongoing and they are working to establish a motive.


KTVU spoke with Liam's grandfather, Chris Husted who said, "We are devastated. Liam was a happy, sweet, innocent child who adored his father. It is a complete tragedy. Liam was a special needs child, at a disadvantage and dependent on other' kindness. Unfortunately, his mother took that away."