Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stanislaus County: #AmberAlert cancelled after childs body found in Canal

Child's Body believed to be kidnap victim found in canal near Santa Nella
Body was 30 miles downstream from where Juliani believed last seen alive

PATTERSON -- The body believed to be that of Juliani Cardenas was found this morning in the Delta-Mendota Canal near Santa Nella, 31 miles south of where he was snatched from his grandmother's arms at her home in Patterson.

No positive identification has been made, and DNA results won't be back for a couple of weeks, according to Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson.

However, at about 11:10 this morning, about four hours after the body of a child was discovered by a canal worker, a posting went up on the Facebook page of Juliani's mom, Tabitha Cardenas, that read:

"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..."

She then followed up two minutes later:

"I'm not talking to the press or anyone else I just had to let you all know before the news does... I love you all very much and my son does too. He's my lil angel now and believe me I'm crying as I am writing this to you all......"

Christianson, speaking at a noon press conference on the steps of Patterson City Hall to media from throughout Central California and the Bay Area, said: "We've lost the life of a little boy. ... We want to offer our deepest condolences to the Cardenas family."

The body was found 31 miles south of Zacharais Road in Patterson, where investigators believe Juliani and abductor Jose Esteban Rodriguez entered the canal in the kidnapper's car on Jan. 18.

The search for Juliani was focused on the canal, from which the Toyota belonging to Rodriguez was pulled out Friday. No bodies were in the car.

Even though investigators believe the body of Rodriguez is in the canal, Christianson said "this is a homicide case" and issued a warrant for the arrest of Rodriguez.

Juliani's family members were informed this morning, and an FBI victim's advocate was with the family at their home on Barros Street, about three miles from where Rodriguez's car went into the canal, said deputy Royjindar Singh, a sheriff's department spokesman.

Rodriguez, who had a criminal past, was Tabitha Cardenas' ex-boyfriend. She is almost nine months pregnant with his child.

Christianson said there will be no search for Rodriguez, although canal workers and others along the canal have been alerted to be on the lookout for a body.

Canal workers were doing their normal maintenance today when they spotted the child's body floating in the canal, Christianson said.

Juliani's body has been taken to the Stanislaus County Coroner's Office.

Christianson said Rodriguez's car, which was pulled from the canal on Friday, was impounded and it still being examined. He had no information on any evidence pulled from the Toyota Corolla.

Cymberlynn Hastings, who identified herself as a family friend, said this morning that a vigil had been planned for today. There were initial reports that it had been canceled at Tabitha Cardenas' request, but as of 5 p.m., it was scheduled to take place at 7 o'clock tonight at a park near downtown.

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