Who was ‘Little Zion’? Samantha Rodriguez, mom of slain California boy, 7, wanted

John ‘Little Zion’ Doe was found dead by hikers and was identified as Liam Husted, cops have issued an arrest warrant for his mom Samantha Rodriguez

                            Who was ‘Little Zion’? Samantha Rodriguez, mom of slain California boy, 7, wanted
Samantha Moreno Rodriguez is wanted in the murder of her son Liam Husted (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Las Vegas police have issued an arrest warrant for the mother of a boy whose body was recently found in a forest. The boy, previously known only as Little Zion, was identified by DNA as Liam Husted, 7, of San Jose, California. Police have now started a nationwide search for the boy's mother Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, 35.

This is the second incident where a mother has been accused of killing her child in California this week. On June 5, Eustajia Mojica Dominguez killed her 3-year-old daughter by leaving her in a hot car for three hours. But other states, too, have been seeing children being killed by their parents.


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Earlier in May, a stepdad killed himself after killing his 4-year-old in a murder-suicide in Florida. That same month, a former New York cop left his autistic son to freeze in the garage while their dog was kept in a heated room. On May 17, a fugitive Nebraska dad was arrested for allegedly killing his son, 3, and daughter, 5, amid a bitter divorce.

Who was Liam Husted?

Husted left San Jose with his mother Samantha four days before his body was found, officials said. The child was last seen with 35-year-old Rodriguez in a 2007, dark blue Dodge Caliber on May 24, NBC News reported. On May 26, the two were in the Laguna Beach region followed by Victorville, California. Rodriguez was last seen on May 31 at a Denver hotel room where she checked in alone, according to the police. Police have issued an arrest warrant seeking nationwide extradition.

Rodriguez's family friend said she hadn't seen her or Husted in over two weeks, according to authorities. The acquaintance had seen John "Little Zion" Doe in the news and thought the composite sketch looked like Husted. Metro Homicide Lt Ray Spencer said she went to San Jose Police Department, which prompted the investigation. 


A sergeant with the San Jose Police Department contacted Spencer on May 28, stating they had a missing minor who they thought might be the boy. This was corroborated by photos given by the SJPD. Husted's body was found by hikers off SR 160 near the Mountain Springs trail on May 28. On May 29 morning, a Metro detective flew to San Jose and recovered a pillow and clothing belonging to Husted. The DNA and the items corresponded to the boy, according to lab testing conducted in Las Vegas, reported 8 News Now.

At this moment, there is no evidence of a prior history of child abuse in the family, according to the police. Spencer declined to go into any detail about Rodriguez's relationship with the boy's father, claiming that he does not know enough about the family dynamic. While the father filed a missing person report on June 1, he did not believe his son was in danger. After not hearing from Rodriguez or his son after she left with the child, the father notified the police. According to Spencer, the father did not file charges because he did not want Rodriguez to get in trouble. He is not a suspect, the police stressed.

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