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Las Vegas police identify ‘Little Zion’, issue murder warrant for his mother

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Las Vegas police have identified a young boy found dead in a forest 10 days ago and issued an arrest warrant for his mother.

Authorities used the DNA to determine the child, previously known only as Little Zion, is 7-year-old Liam Husted of San Jose, California. They are now looking for Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, 35.

The mother and son left California in a blue Dodge Caliber on May 24 and traveled to Southern California and then Nevada. Moreno Rodriguez was last seen at a Denver motel on May 31.

No cause of death was given for Liam, but police said he was the victim of a homicide. A hiker fell on his body, thrown at the start of a trail, a week ago.

Police initially released sketches of the child, which led to a woman falsely claiming the unidentified child as her own. It turned out that her son was on a camping trip with his father and brother.

Days later, a woman from San José fearing she hadn’t seen Moreno Rodriguez or Liam for two weeks saw the “Little Zion” skit and noted a resemblance.

This woman, a family friend, called the San Jose Police, who contacted the cops in Las Vegas. A Vegas detective then flew to San Jose to obtain clothes and a pillow that belonged to Liam.

The crime lab then confirmed a match between the DNA on the objects and the boy found in the woods.

Lt. Ray Spencer of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said he had to tell the father of the boy, who reported him missing on June 1, that he was dead.

“It’s a heartbreaking conversation to have,” Spencer said at a press conference Monday.

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