Boy found dead near Las Vegas hiking trail identified as 7-year-old from California; suspected Killer Mom on the RUN

A young boy found murdered near a Las Vegas trail late last month has been identified, and Las Vegas police have obtained a warrant for the arrest of the boy’s mother on a charge of murder.

Lt Ray Spencer told reporters Monday afternoon that the young boy they’ve been trying to identify for 10 days was Liam Husted, a 7-year-old boy from San Jose, California.

Liam and his mother, 35-year-old Samantha Morena Rodriguez, left San Jose on May 24 and were known to have been in the areas of Laguna Beach and Victorville on May 26.

Liam’s body was found near the Mountain Springs trailhead by hikers early in the morning on May 28, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Investigators said at the time it was an “obvious homicide.”

Rodriguez was driving a dark blue, 2007 Dodge Calibre — California tag 6WLH211 — packed with belongings, Spencer said. That vehicle was seen on Interstate 70 on May 29.  Rodriguez was last known to be in the Denver, Colorado, area, where she checked into a hotel alone on May 31.

Spencer said that a friend of the mother contacted San Jose police last Friday when she hadn’t seen her or Liam in two weeks. The friend said she had seen news coverage of the boy found dead near Las Vegas and believed he could be Liam.

San Jose police contacted Las Vegas police, who sent detectives to San Jose to continue the investigation. They brought back a pillow and clothing that belonged to Liam, and on Sunday night, the crime lab matched DNA from those items to the boy found dead.

Liam’s father had made a report about his son and the mother on June 1, Spencer said, but at the time “did not feel his son was in harm’s way.”

“He contacted police because he hadn’t heard from them,” Spencer said, adding that police had seen no evidence suggesting the father was involved in any way.

Spencer said detectives were interviewing family and friends and did not “know a possible motive.”

“There are lots of moving parts in this investigation,” he said.

Spencer asked anyone in the Las Vegas area who had seen Rodriguez or Liam on May 27 or 28 to contact police and for hotels to check their registries for those dates.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast:

[Featured image: Liam Husted/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department]