Liam Husted: Mother of boy found dead near Las Vegas hiking trail arrested

<p>Mother of boy found dead near Las Vegas hiking trail arrested</p> (AP)

Mother of boy found dead near Las Vegas hiking trail arrested

(AP)

The mother of a seven-year-old boy found dead near a Las Vegas hiking trail has been arrested, police announced.

Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, 35, was taken into custody in Denver, Colorado, over the killing of her son, Liam Husted, officials confirmed.

Liam’s body was found by hikers on the Mountain Springs trail about 30 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada, on 28 May, and investigators believe it was dumped there the night before.

Ms Rodriguez, 35, will be booked into a Colorado jail pending extradition to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said on Twitter.

Investigators say that Liam left his home town of San Jose, California, with his mother four days before his body was discovered, and was last seen with her in her 2007, dark blue Dodge Caliber.

Authorities notified Liam’s father of the identification of his body on Monday.

Initially a different woman had told police the body was that of her eight-year-old son, who had gone missing with his father and an older half-brother.

But when all three showed up, detectives were left with no leads until they were contacted by law enforcement in San Jose investigating a missing mother and son case.

DNA collected from a pillow and clothing at Liam’s home then matched that of the child found on the trail.

Police believe that Ms Rodriguez and Liam travelled to Laguna Beach and Victorville, which are both in California, before her car was spotted near Grand Junction, Colorado.

Ms Rodriguez then “checked in by herself” to a hotel in Denver, Colorado, on 31 May.

The cause of death has not been made public by authorities.

Liam’s grandparent Chris Husted said in a statement that the youngster “was a special needs child, at a disadvantage and dependent on others’ kindness.”

And he added: “Unfortunately his mother took that away.”

“We are devastated. Liam was a happy sweet innocent child who adored his father. It is a complete tragedy, and Liam will be very missed. My son is very distraught by the news,” the statement added.

Liam’s father did not report his son missing until 1 June, said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt Ray Spencer.

“The father did not feel that his son was in harm’s way,” he said before the arrest.

“Not trying to get the mother into trouble, he did not want to file any type of charges or anything.”

And he added: “There’s nothing at this point that would indicate there’s any prior abuse that we’re aware of.”