The father of a 7-year-old boy whose body was found on a Nevada hiking trail late last month spoke at a vigil to honor his son Liam Husted.
According to KLAS, community members gathered at Las Vegas’s Sunset Park on Sunday to celebrate Liam’s life, bringing red and white balloons in remembrance of Liam’s favorite colors.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, hikers found Liam’s body outside Las Vegas on May 28. Police shared a sketch of the boy in an attempt to identify him, and eventually a friend of Liam’s mother came forward and told police that she had recognized the boy, and said she had not heard from Rodriguez in a while.
READ MORE: ‘I’m sorry I had to do it like this’: Father of boy found dead on Las Vegas hiking trail says he did not suspect son was in danger after mom fled with boy
This information led to the positive identification of the boy as Liam Husted. After a brief search for Rodriguez, investigators traced her to Colorado and arrested her in Denver. She is expected to be extradited to California, if she has not been already.
Authorities have shared very little information about the investigation, but have said publicly that they are confident Rodriguez is responsible for her son’s death, and that he was likely killed at the same location where his body was found.
Liam’s father Nicholas Husted reportedly told police that Rodriguez had taken Liam from their home on May 24, leaving a note with an apology for leaving abruptly, and telling Liam’s father that she indented to find a new home for her and her son. The father did not immediately suspect his son was in any danger, but called police about a week after Rodriguez and Liam left to report that he had been unable to reach them.
On Sunday, Nicholas Husted delivered remarks at his son’s memorial, thanking the people who have offered support.
“I just had to come to show my appreciation for everything you guys did in this community to take him under your wing,” Husted said, according to the New York Post. “The hardest part was knowing that he was left behind, but he was never by himself.”
I don’t want to come to terms with it. I don’t want to believe it,” Nicholas Husted told reporters in an interview published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Husted explained that he intends to remains quiet about the investigation into his son’s presumed murder, which remains very active.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” Husted said. “There’s still a lot of unknown stuff to me, and I’ve been on the phone with detectives.
Husted also said that he did not believe Rodriguez was a bad mother, but that she had a “time of weakness” and has to pay for it.
“She is not really in my thought process now,” Husted told the Las Vegas Journal-Review. Watch the full video interview here.
Nicholas Husted launched a GoFundMe campaign that has raised over $36,000 so far.