Mom Accused of Strangling 7-Year-Old Son and Leaving Body on Nevada Hiking Trail Will Plead Guilty: Docs

A California mother pled guilty last week after she was charged with the murder of her 7-year-old son whose body was found on a trail outside of Las Vegas last year, according to online records.

Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez, 36, pleaded guilty to charges of murder and child abuse and neglect or endangerment resulting in substantial bodily harm, TV station KLAS reported, citing court documents filed Sept. 1.

Moreno-Rodriguez will serve a sentence of 28 years to life, and she will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years, according to the documents.

On May 24, 2021, Moreno-Rodriguez and her son Liam Husted left their home in San Jose, Calif., in a 2007 dark blue Dodge Caliber.

The boy’s body was found near Mountain Springs Trailhead four days later. Investigators released a reconstructed image of the boy who they named John “Little Zion” Doe.

A family friend called police with a tip about the image resembling Liam. Investigators were able to positively identify Liam’s remains after linking DNA from items in the missing child case in San Jose to the boy’s body.

On June 8, Moreno-Rodriguez was arrested in Denver by the Denver Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force, led by the FBI, and extradited back to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported at the time.

“This is an egregious case of filicide,” Clark County Deputy District Attorney John Giordani said last year during a hearing, the Review-Journal reported. “She essentially said that she became frustrated with the child and strangled him.”