Authorities have confirmed that a young boy whose body was found near Las Vegas in May died as a result of strangulation, KSNV-TV reports.
The body of 7-year-old Liam Husted was found May 28 near a hiking trail in Mountain Springs, Nevada.
On Thursday, Clark County Coroner Melanie Rouse announced that Husted’s death was officially ruled a homicide by strangulation, according to the television station.
Police in June arrested Husted’s mother, 35-year-old Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez, who reportedly confessed to strangling the child and leaving his naked body by the trail.
The body was found with “multiple injuries” to his body, according to court records obtained by KLAS-TV.
Investigators initially could not identify the boy and referred to him as John “Little Zion” Doe. After multiple requests for public assistance, a woman in San Jose, California, alerted authorities that she recognized the child and said she had not seen him or his mother recently.
Police then tested DNA from Husted’s home and matched it to the body.
Authorities have not publicly disclosed an exact motive for why Moreno-Rodriguez killed the boy. However, Clark County Deputy District Attorney John Giordani suggested in court last month that Moreno-Rodriguez murdered her son, who was autistic, out of frustration.
“This is an egregious case of filicide,” Giordani said in court, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “She essentially said that she became frustrated with the child and strangled him.”
Moreno-Rodriguez had been living in Santa Cruz, California, with the child and his father, Nicholas Husted, but she left a note saying she intended to find another place to live for her and her son.
The next court hearing for Moreno-Rodriguez is scheduled for August 3.
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