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A California mom accused of strangling her seven-year-old autistic son to death and leaving his naked body on a hiking trail outside of Las Vegas has agreed to plead guilty to his murder.
Samantha Moreno-Rodriguez, 36, signed a guilty plea on Aug. 31 and filed it with the courts the following day, court records show. Included in the agreement is a 28-year prison sentence, though she will reportedly be eligible for parole after serving at least 20 years, according to KLAS.
The deal still has to be approved by the presiding judge, and it was not formalized during a Tuesday hearing in the case.
She has pleaded guilty to a felony count of murder and a felony count of child abuse, neglect or endangerment resulting in substantial bodily harm in the death of Liam Husted, her son, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Rodriguez had originally entered a not guilty plea in the case on Aug. 20, 2021.
Just weeks before her son’s death, she reportedly left San Jose to start a new life. Rodriguez, who had been unemployed for several years, ended up in Las Vegas and walked around “so he could look at the lights,” she told authorities, according to the Las Vegas Journal-Review.
The boy’s father, Nicholas Husted, notified authorities that Rodriguez had left with their son. He was still in California reportedly preparing for a bitter custody battle after their break-up.
Prosecutors said that Rodriguez had confessed to choking and strangling Liam Husted after she shoved him and he hit his head and began screaming, the paper reported. She then removed his clothes before dumping his body in an alleged effort to make it harder to connect the body to her, the Review-Journal reported last year.
Hikers discovered Liam's remains on May 28, 2021 near the Mountain Springs Trailhead.
Police arrested Rodriquez two weeks after her son’s remains were found. She was taken into custody at a restaurant in Denver where she was having breakfast with a man she had recently met, KLAS reported.
Rodriquez allegedly told authorities that she had became frustrated with Liam, who had limited verbal skills.
“She was trying to usher him back to the car so they can go on their way, and he won’t do it,” Metropolitan Police Department Detective Robert Ochsenhirt told grand jurors, according to the Las Vegas Journal Review.
She’s due back in court on September 20.
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