Kidnapper’s car found in canal
Reporting from Fresno —
Divers searching the Delta-Mendota Canal on Friday found the car used by a kidnapper who grabbed a 4-year-old boy from his grandmother’s arms. The bodies were not in the vehicle.
All evidence, from tire tracks to an eyewitness, had indicated that the silver Toyota of kidnapper Jose Esteban Rodriguez was in the canal. A farmworker who saw the car go into the canal told police it was airborne and that two people — one much smaller than the other — were inside. Detectives had been careful to not extend hope.
Nevertheless, the small town of Patterson had fervently cast about for a different explanation. Juliani Cardenas’ mother, Tabitha Cardenas, said she knew her son was not in the canal. At nightly candlelight vigils, people prayed that Juliani would be returned.
“We’re saddened that we found the car, even though we knew we would,” Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson told reporters Friday.
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