A man who lives in the apartment building where 7-year-old Liam Husted was living before he died has come forward to describe a disturbing scene that appears to have taken place shortly before Liam’s mother Samantha Moreno Rodriguez left with the boy last month.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, hikers found Liam Husted’s body on a trail near Las Vegas on May 28. Authorities believe Rodriguez took her son and left their San Jose, California, home on May 24. They traveled to southern California, reportedly stopping in Laguna Beach, before going to Las Vegas, where they both checked into a hotel on May 27. Authorities have said they are confident Rodriguez killed her son and that he died at the same location where his body was found, but have not yet released the boy’s cause of death.
Liam’s father Nick Husted told the East Bay Times that when he arrived home on May 24, both Rodriguez and Liam were gone, along with their belongings. According to multiple and in some cases conflicting reports, Rodriguez left either a note or a voice message telling Husted that she was going to find a home for her and Liam.
“I’m sorry I had to do it like this,” she reportedly said, or wrote.
Husted told the news outlet that he was not immediately alarmed or concerned for his son’s safety until several days passed and he could not reach his family. He reportedly contacted police on June 1, but Liam was already dead.
Law enforcement sources told the East Bay Times there had been no previous record of abuse in the home or any indication that Rodriguez planned to harm her son — appearing to defend Husted’s delayed response to his son’s disappearance.
But a neighbor at the same apartment building has said he saw a hysterically crying boy he believes was Liam, and his account suggests Liam’s parents may have abandoned him inside the building.
Ninous Tuman told ABC 30 that he saw a boy, who he believes to be Liam after seeing his photos, in the apartment complex about two weeks ago. He said that the boy was alone in the hallway and very upset.
“As I walked outside of my apartment in the hallway I saw this kid crying, little kid, and he was crying really bad,” Tuman told the news station.
Tuman also said that the boy spoke only Spanish, so it was difficult to communicate.
After failing to find the boy’s parents inside the apartment complex, Tuman said he went outside with the boy and called 911. While he was on the phone with 911, a man got out of a car and approached the boy. When the 911 dispatcher asked Tuman if the boy seemed comfortable with the man, Tuman said he wasn’t sure, though he believed the man was the boy’s father. Tuman said a woman then got out of the car and the boy seemed comfortable with her. The neighbor said he assumed she was the boy’s mother and did not question them any further — but he now has regrets.
“I am devastated man, I feel so bad,” Tuman told ABC 30.
There is no confirmation that the child and the adults Tuman encountered were Liam and his parents.
Rodriguez was arrested on Tuesday and is awaiting extradition to California, where she is expected to be charged.
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