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Mother of boy found dead near Las Vegas trail is arrested

Liam Husted, 7, left San Jose, California, with his mother four days before his body was found on a hiking trail near Las Vegas, officials said.

Police have arrested the mother of a boy whose body was found on a hiking trail near Las Vegas last month.

Samantha Moreno Rodriguez, 35, was taken into custody Tuesday morning in Denver, Colorado, by the Denver Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force. She will be booked into a local jail pending extradition to Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a tweet.

The boy, identified Monday as 7-year-old Liam Husted of San Jose, California, left San Jose with his mother four days before his body was found, officials said. The boy was last seen with Rodriguez in a 2007, dark blue Dodge Caliber on May 24, police said.

It's not clear exactly why investigators believe Rodriguez killed the boy, and, homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said, "There’s nothing that would indicate any prior abuse that we’re aware of."

The boy's father was informed of the identification and death Monday, he said.

Hikers found Liam's body in the town of Mountain Springs, about 30 miles of west of Las Vegas, the morning of May 28. authorities said. Detectives believe the body was placed on the trail sometime the previous night.

After distributing an artist's sketch of the boy, a woman immediately came forward to claim he was her 8-year-old son who was traveling with his father and an older half-brother, all missing. However, when the three turned up safe May 29, authorities were back to square one with an unidentified body.

Spencer said a San Jose police sergeant called him Friday night to say the missing boy might be related to the case of a missing mother and son in his jurisdiction.

Detectives believe the mother and son traveled to the California cities of Laguna Beach and Victorville May 26, the lieutenant said. The Dodge Caliber was then seen near Grand Junction, Colorado, May 29, he said.

Rodriguez then "checked in by herself" to a Denver-area hotel on May 31, Spencer said.