The murder of Liam Husted: Mother, 36, pleads guilty to strangling autistic son, 7, to death

The seven-year-old boy's mother was arrested after his body was discovered naked and with multiple injuries on a hiking trail in Nevada

The murder of Liam Husted: Mother, 36, pleads guilty to strangling autistic son, 7, to death
Samantha Moreno Rodriguez (R) admitted to killing her seven-year-old son Liam Husted (L) (LVMPD)
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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Liam Husted, 7, was reportedly strangled to death by his 36-year-old mother Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez, who then dumped her autistic son's body on a hiking trail in Nevada on May 28, 2021. Moreno-Rodriguez was detained by cops on June 8, 2021, in Denver, Colorado after she stated that she had been accompanying her autistic son to "find a new home." At that time, police and the FBI had not revealed the reason behind the murder or whether a weapon was used. They had stated that more information would be made public after the coroner completed the toxicology report.

An autopsy revealed that homicide was the cause of death. Nicholas Husted, Liam's father, had received a note from Moreno-Rodriguez that read, in part, "I'm sorry I had to do it this way." According to the report, the couple had relationship issues over the previous two years. On May 28, 2021, Liam's unclothed body was discovered by hikers in the Mountain Springs region, some 30 miles southwest of Las Vegas.

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Moreno-Rodriguez reportedly said that it would have been difficult for police to connect her to Liam's murder if he didn't have any clothes, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  According to FOX5, she pleaded not guilty on September 1, 2021. However, she entered a guilty plea at a hearing conducted in August 2022 and admitted to killing her seven-year-old son.

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Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez is set to plead guilty to killing her son Liam Husted, seven (Photo: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police)
Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez Las Vegas Metropolitan Police)

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Robert Ochsenhirt testified to the court that Moreno-Rodriguez strangled her son Liam for 10 to 15 minutes. She admitted to the police that she had grown "frustrated" with the autistic youngster.

According to the Review-Journal, there were no tracks, firearms, or garments in the vicinity where his body was dumped. Before Liam Husted was discovered dead, Moreno-Rodriguez allegedly said she was driving him to look for a new house.

She left San Jose, California, with the child on May 24, 2021. She left a note for his father stating that she would find them a new home. It read, "I'm sorry I had to do it like this. I'm trying to get a house for Liam and me." Liam's father said that the note was waiting for him when he returned home.

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Husted was found on a trail in Nevada in May 2021 (photo: Fox News)
Liam Husted was found dead on a hiking trail in Nevada in May 2021 (Fox News)

According to the police, Liam's father Nicholas didn't report him missing because he didn't consider the note suspicious. According to reports, Moreno-Rodriguez had a long relationship with Liam's father. However, there was no proof that the family had experienced any prior issues or social services involvement.

Just one day before Liam's body was discovered, the two booked into a hotel in Las Vegas. Three days later on May 30, 2021, Moreno-Rodriguez went into a motel in Denver. Weeks later, after police received a tip and she was taken into custody. As part of their appeal for information, police released images of what they believed Liam looked like. Moreno-Rodriguez is scheduled to be in court on September 8, 2022.

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