Sheriff: Body of Child Found in Canal Believed to be Juliani Cardenas

wsbt.com  KTLA News   wsbt.com/news/ktla-amber-alert-patterson,0,4330218.story

9:00 PM EST, February 1, 2011

PATTERSON, Calif. (KTLA) -- Authorities say they have found the body of a young boy abducted two weeks ago from his grandmother's home.  The body was discovered Tuesday morning in the same canal where divers found the car of a man suspected of kidnapping him. A worker doing routine meter checks in the area found the body, and stayed there until law enforcement arrived.

At a news conference Tuesday, Stanislaus Sheriff Adam Christianson said although they are still waiting for official DNA confirmation, they believe a body found Tuesday morning is that of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas.  The Modesto Bee is reporting that Tabitha Cardenas, Juliani's mother, apparently posted this on her Facebook page shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday:

"I have the worst news in the world to tell you all ... My son's body has been found in the canal no DNA has confirmed it but its his clothes and shoes have and it's a 4 year old boy. So I want everyone to pray that Jose's body is found so we can all know that he's burning in HELL and I don't have to worry about him taking my unborn baby girl ... "

Twenty-seven-year-old Jose Rodriguez is accused of snatching Juliani, his ex-girlfriend's son, from the arms of the boy's grandmother Jan. 18 in the garage of a Patterson home.

Last Friday, Rodriguez's silver Toyota Corolla was pulled from the canal, however there was nothing inside the car. Two of the car's windows were down when it was pulled from the canal.

Rodriguez is the ex-boyfriend of the boy's mother, who is also reportedly pregnant with his unborn child.  He is not the boy's father.  The boy's mother and Rodriguez had been together for two years, but she had not seen Rodriguez for six months, according to Stanislaus County Sheriff's spokesman Royjindar Singh.  Authorities do not have a possible motive for the abduction.

"The suspect has an extensive criminal history," Singh said.  Rodriguez was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1999, according to Singh. He also has been arrested on suspicion of assault and battery and unlawful sexual intercourse.

He was wearing a white and black shirt, checkered shorts and a beanie. Singh said Cardenas was in dark sweatpants, a light blue fleece sweater and black light-up Spider Man shoes.

Authorities initially believed Rodriguez could be heading to San Jose, where he has family. But they now say he has family throughout California, including in the Central Valley, and could be anywhere in the state.  Anyone who spots Rodriguez and Cardenas is asked to call Stanislaus County Sheriff's Sgt. Camarda at (209) 380-6015.