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Autopsy Finds Central Valley Boy Pulled From Canal Drowned

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Crime scene tape is shown along the Delta-Mendota canal, where the body of a 4-year-old kidnapping victim was found. (AP Photo)

Crime scene tape is shown along the Delta-Mendota canal, where the body of a 4-year-old kidnapping victim was found. (AP Photo)

PATTERSON (AP) — An autopsy shows a boy whose body was pulled from a Central California canal had drowned.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department revealed the cause of death on Wednesday. The body was found Tuesday in the Delta-Mendota Canal.

The coroner has not officially identified the body, but authorities believe it is that of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas, who was kidnapped from his home two weeks ago.

The Cardenas family is planning his funeral, although the coroner is still working to confirm the identification through DNA tests. Results are expected in several weeks.

Meanwhile, authorities kept searching for 27-year-old Jose Rodriguez, who is suspected of the kidnapping. He is the ex-boyfriend of Juliani’s mother. Officials suspect the body of Rodriguez might also be in the canal.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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