Kidnapped Boy’s Body Found In Central Valley Canal

PATTERSON (CBS 5 / AP) ― The body of a child found Tuesday in a Central Valley canal belongs to a 4-year-old boy who was kidnapped from his home last month, according to authorities.

Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christensen said that officials had confirmed the body was that of young Juliani Cardenas. The discovery capped a two week search for the child.

The body was found in the Delta-Mendota Canal, where a car linked to the kidnapping case was recovered last week.

“From the very beginning, we wanted to find little Juliani alive. That was our goal,” Christianson said. But as the days progressed, “we just knew that wouldn’t happen.”

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Investigators believe the boy was snatched from his home in Patterson on Jan. 18 by his mother’s ex-boyfriend, 27-year-old Jose Rodriguez, who has not been found. The abduction triggered a statewide Amber Alert.

Authorities have not discussed a motive, but Juliani’s mother, Tabitha Cardenas, has said she recently ended her three-year relationship with Rodriguez. He has an extensive criminal record that includes an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Search teams had been combing the canal for over a week for signs of the boy and Rodriguez after a farmworker told authorities he saw a car matching the description of Rodriguez’s silver Toyota Corolla going into the water shortly after the abduction.

The car was pulled from the bottom of the canal last Friday evening with no signs of the suspect or the boy inside.

A water department worker at the canal spotted the boy’s body on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. near the town of Santa Nella, about 30 miles downstream from the car, and called 911, the sheriff’s office said.

A homicide warrant has been issued for Rodriguez, Christianson said, although there was no evidence Rodriguez fled the scene after the car went into the water and investigators believe his body also will be found in the canal.

In Juliani’s tight-knit neighborhood, where yellow and purple ribbons were pinned on trees, residents gathered after learning about the tragic discovery. Many of the parked vehicles still had “missing” fliers attached to their windows.

Police tape blocked access to the cul-de-sac where Juliani’s family lives. Family members did not come outside to speak with reporters.

Patterson City Councilwoman Deborah Novelli, who visited the family Tuesday afternoon, said they were angry at Rodriguez and unable to understand why this happened.

“They are trying to understand: Where was his head? What was he thinking?” Novelli said, her eyes red from tears.

Darlene Vanderbilt, a neighbor who was home the day Juliani was kidnapped, recalled coming out of her house after she heard screams and seeing Rodriguez’s car whipping down the street. She said the memory keeps replaying in her head.

“It just hurts. It brings it all back,” said Vanderbilt, standing in her driveway a few doors down from Juliani’s home. “We couldn’t do anything more than what we did: call the police and get them looking for him.”

Another neighbor, Suzie Ambers, described Juliani as a beautiful, sweet child who loved life.

“We were all praying and hoping it would turn out different,” Ambers said. “But in our hearts, we knew.”

Ambers said their focus now must shift to Cardenas, who is eight months pregnant with Rodriguez’s child. An ambulance was parked outside the family home Tuesday, in case the expectant mother needed to be taken to the hospital.

“We are with Tabitha,” Ambers said. “The whole block is supporting her.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Asscoaited Press contributed to thsi report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. life4takin says:

    Single mothers beware … don’t date the ignorant thug boy !

  2. Danix2 says:

    Rest in peace little one. May you be your mummy’s and little brother or sister’s Giardian Angel now!!

  3. sam says:

    Rest in peace gods angel.

  4. babs says:

    RIP Little Juliani.
    Lets hope your killer is still alive so the prisoners can tear him apart, piece by piece

  5. JB says:

    my prayers are with the family. R.I.P little Angel.

  6. P Rogers says:

    Take the Lords hand, he will guid you to place where there is no harm. Rest in peace little one.

  7. TA says:

    How sad. The poor mom. I could never imagine losing any of my kids. I wish her well & good luck with the new baby.

    1. Becca says:

      You are ignorant ! Where is your human compassion….oh yeah, you aren’t human.

      1. Peace says:

        Sharon is absolutly correct. Alhough I believe that the mother is responsible for her sons death. She knew exactly the thug criminal she was dated. If she cared so much for her kid then she would of broke of the relationship and not got pregnant by the thug Jose. Women need to start making better choices. The boy would of still been alive if she wasn’t so stupid.

      2. Sharon Rossell says:

        Well said Peace and thank you for the confirmation of my post.

        Like I said, I saw this exact same situation where the boyfriend became completely dependent on the girlfriend/mother. When the girlfriend decided to break off the relationship, exactly what happened her to Juliani’s mother, the boyfriend either killed the girlfriend or the child or both.

        Jose took Juliani to teach her a lesson and cause her the most unbeaerable pain a mother can ever have and that is having her child kidnapped and murdered.

        My best friend lost her daughter on January 6th to an unknown reason and it’s been just the most painful experience for my friend. Her daughter was 47 years old, but no matter what the age, parents should not be burying their children.

        If there can be something “good” to come out of this incredibly senseless tragedy, it is my hope that other women in the same situation as Tabitha Cardenas will seek the help of their local law enforcement agencies, their social workers agencies and their abused women shelters. Nobody should have to live in fear like Juliani’s mother did. She was very brave to break off the relationship, but should have done so with the help of the police.

        I pray that my girlfriend’s daughter is taking care of little Juliani in heaven.

      3. RealityCheck says:

        There is a massive difference between ignorance and compassion and you only demonstrate your ignorance with your posting.

  8. rose says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. R.I.P. little angel. You’re in a safe place now.
    RE

  9. toni hume says:

    May you rest in please little one. You are now safe and out of harm’s way in the loving arms of our Lord Jesus. God bless little angel.

  10. a-0 says:

    RIP little one!

    I hope they will find the killer and execute the SOB! People like you should not be alive.

  11. Mel says:

    😦 I thought he would be found alive, I had so much faith that would happen. How terribly sad. RIP

  12. Janette says:

    God Bless all of you …

  13. Janette says:

    I hope they find him and lock him up forever instead of the death penalty this way he suffers for his actions for a very long time and the other prisioner’s make his life hell….

    1. RealityCheck says:

      Um, he’s dead too. They were both in the car when it went into the canal.

      1. Miser says:

        RealityCheck, Not necessarily. He could of pushed the car in with the boy inside.

      2. RealityCheck says:

        Yeah, and Santa Claus could deliver presents on Christmas. He’s dead.

  14. Joyce says:

    This is so very sad and senseless. May God hold you in His comforting hands

  15. VERO says:

    POOR BABY BOY AND MOM I AM SORRY TO HERE THIS TRAGIC ENDING I HAD FAITH THEY WOULD FIND HIM ALIVE REST IN PEACE LIL ANGEL

  16. Stephanie says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family. R.I.P. little angel. I had faith they would find him alive as well.

  17. marlene says:

    Ever since hearing about you being taken away, I have prayed for you to come home to your mommy. Now you have a new home with God and no one can hurt anymore. Rest in peace angel…

  18. MEL says:

    JESUS SAID IN HIS WORD, THE LEAST YOU DO TO MY LITTLE ONES, YOU HAVE DONE UNTO ME. HIS LIFE ENDED HERE, BUT HAS JUST BEGUN WITH JESUS. MY PRAYERS ARE WITH THE FAMILY.

  19. Jen says:

    I am devastated by this news. Rest in peace little Juliani. You are with God now.

  20. Kathy says:

    My prayers are with the family. May God grant them peace in this their time of loss. RIP peace llittle angel. You are in a safe place now.

  21. DENISE LOFTON says:

    I HOPE JOSE IS ALIVE I WANT HIM TO GO TO PRISON WITH NO PROTECTION AT ALLLL, I WANT THE WORSE MAN IN THEIR TEAR UP LIMB BY LIMB AND MAYBE HOLD HIM DOWN IN A TUB OF WATER WHILE GUT PUCHN HIM,,HE SHOULD NEVER DIE EVERYDAY HE SHOULD BE BADLY TOURCHERED, IM NOT GONNA GO ON OR THEY WANT POST THIS,,
    I DID NOT KNOW YOU LIL JULIANI BUT I LUV YOU AND I KNOW YOU ARE THE BRAVEST SMARTEST LITTLE BOY I N HEAVEN,,YOUR MOMMIE AND NEW LITTLE SISTER NEED YOU TO LOOK AFTER THEM ,,HUGS AND KISSES BABY,,KITY

  22. Rosie says:

    I pray for the family and you little angel you are in peace in good hands.

  23. sal says:

    Hope they find the killer and give him hanging death penalty

  24. Seriously says:

    I blame the mother. What the heck was she doing dating an illegal thug with a criminal record. Women better start making better choices for themselves becuase it effect the children.

    1. to seriously says:

      yeah man… i agree…. she’s not exactly playing with a full deck. and in about a month, she’s going to have a child with the eyes of her son’s killer….

      so effing twisted. she should have used some damn judgement. life just doesn’t happen.. life happens because of people’s choices… her fatal choice was to bang the local manslaughter convict, have his child and take a risk on his blatent criminal instincts….

      way to go with your gut mom!!

  25. Veronica says:

    I had so much hope of them finding him until they pulled the car from the canal and than my heart sunk, like so many parents of young children did! and I knew, but I didn’t want to believe!!!!! Now with tears in my eyes and a heart that is breaking for his mother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t even imagine what pain she is going through, My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as for the beautiful little boy who was taken from her way to soon, may you rest in peace.

  26. Kiley says:

    The guy is probably already in Mexico. It’s been a whole week so you know he is gone scott free. Sad Story

  27. Patty l says:

    It hurts my heart to know some one could have taughts like this and actually carry them through.On an inocent child .RIP kid .

  28. Victor says:

    Murder-suicide?

  29. Joseph says:

    My prayers go out to the mother and the family. I hope people stop leaving ignorant comments as this is the wrong forum to do so.

  30. josh says:

    Rest in paradise little angel may u go with god in peace

  31. Garcia Family says:

    Our hearts go out to juliani’s mother and family. We will keep u all in our prayers.

  32. Mexico sucks says:

    “…The guy is probably already in Mexico…”
    Yeah where half of the male population of that $hitbag country are pedophiles and baby killers.

  33. RealityCheck says:

    Jose will come floating to the surface eventually. It’ll just take a while longer because he is heavier and with the cool water temperatures the bacteria take longer to produce the buoyant gases. But he will turn up.

  34. amomthathurts4thismom says:

    my prayers to the mother my deepest condolence

  35. brent says:

    I am saddened by the news of heavens newest angel…..i hope they find rodriquez alive so they can put him in prison with others of his kind and they take it out on him n spades!!!

  36. Paul Stelly says:

    God has you in his embrace, and you will be at peace lil’ one. You will always be missed by family and friends…But their solace will come as each realizes that you have ascended to “The Kingdom”, and were received as an Angel.

  37. Sharon Rossell says:

    This is a huge tragedy and one that could have been totally avoided.

    Juliani’s mother needs to share some of the responsibility of what happened to her son. She took this man into her home and exposed her son to this dangerous criminal. She put her needs to have a man around over the safety of her child and now looked what happened.

    I have worked for 15 years with victims of domestic violence and have managed to move hundreds of women and children out of their abusive relationships and into safe, happy homes.

    Juliani’s mother was a victim of domesti violence but never called the police. She posted her admission to Child Quest International’s Facebook page last week. She knew he was a dangerous man with an extensive criminal background, yet she chose to have him in her home and around her son.

    One call to the police would have had him in jail and away from her and her son. So what does she do? She gets pregnant with his daughter and that poor baby will forever be linked to her son’s killer.

    I’m sorry to put her down, but this is so stupid and was completely avoidable. If she had called the police, He would have been arrested and prosecuted for domestic violence and little Juliani would be alive today.

    Ladies – please! If you find yourself in a similar situation, being physically and emotionally abused and have young children around, please call 911. Your life and that of your innocent children depend on you making that call. Your county has vast resources to help you. You have a right to live in a happy, safe environment and be able to raise your children to be great people.

    Please don’t let this awful tragedy happen again.

    1. james farmer says:

      really ?? you choose this time for a lecture? you should be ashamed of yourself, show some compassion.

      1. Sharon Rossell says:

        Oh yes, I’m so ashamed of myself for wanting to help women and innocent children get out of their abusive relationships and hope to avoid another unnecessary tragedy like this one. You’re right, I’m so ashamed.

        Showing compassion by giving instructions on how to get help is not a lecture you moron.

      2. Roman says:

        Hey James farmer. Sounds like Sharon is shedding some light on how this could of been avoided and maybe help other women to get out of abusive relationships. The mother definitly needs to take some responsibility here.

      3. RealityCheck says:

        The original poster is correct. This whole situation is part of the idiot mother’s fault too. She put herself in a bad situation and cost her son his life. It takes two to tango. If the kid had been randomly grabbed off the street it would be a completely different situation but that is not what happened. Sorry to break that to you.

  38. Carlos Rivera says:

    May he rest in peace.

  39. Amy says:

    RIP little angel Juliani! Our prayers go out to you and your family!

  40. Aubrey says:

    I heard the news this morning and I cried for the loss of a child I never knew due to an ignorant father. May Juliani rest in peace. And may Jose get his just deserves, whether it be by a trial and judge, or by some amazing person who recognizes his face.

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