A concerned father, a police sketch and DNA helped police identify a boy found dead on a Nevada trail

Police released a photo of Liam Husted's mother, Samantha Moreno Rodriguez.

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- In the days leading up to the discovery of 7-year-old Liam Husted's body in the Nevada desert, his mother texted her friend about traveling to Las Vegas for her birthday, according to details in a criminal complaint.

Samantha Moreno Rodriguez is facing a murder charge in the death of her son. She was arrested in Colorado a week after the boy's body was found and is currently awaiting extradition to Clark County.

The original 911 call came in about 7:45 a.m. on May 28. A hiker discovered a boy's naked body near a trail by Mountain Springs. Investigators determined the boy was dead, but noted that the cause of death would not be finalized until a toxicology report came back, the criminal complaint said.

On June 1, Liam's father Nicholas Husted contacted San Jose police saying his girlfriend Samantha had broken up with him about a week prior. Nicholas said he didn't want to press charges but wanted to make a report that Moreno Rodriguez had their child.

On June 4, a friend of Moreno Rodriguez's also contacted police. She said she had texted Moreno Rodriguez on May 17 to wish her a happy birthday. Moreno Rodriguez texted her back, saying Nicholas was going to take them to Las Vegas May 17 to May 23, the criminal complaint said. Investigators found that Nicholas' vehicle was never seen leaving the San Jose area, but tracked Samantha's vehicle leaving the state around May 27.

Investigators were also able to link one of Moreno Rodriguez's email accounts to a hotel reservation in Colorado. The criminal complaint said Moreno Rodriguez booked a hotel in Englewood, CO through Groupon. Surveillance footage showed Moreno Rodriguez checking in alone on May 31 and checking out June 1, the court documents said.

Moreno Rodriguez is set to appear in court in Colorado Thursday.

Copyright 2021 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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