With balloons and bubble wands in hand, several people came out to Sunset Park in memory of 7-year-old Liam Husted; the boy found in Mountain Springs back in May.
“As a mom, it strikes every cord in my body,” said Natalie Thompson. “And I wish I could just be there to hug him and love him.”
Wearing Liam’s favorite color of red, people came to pay their respects in a case that they say touched and sickened them.
“It resonated so deeply in me that I haven’t been able to sleep for the past few weeks,” said Dina Lynn. “I felt the least I could do was to show up.”
Despite not knowing Liam or his family, Monica says as a mother and grandmother, she was immediately impacted by the headlines.
“Those images really got to me,” she said.
Claudia took a taxi across town to pay her respects.
“It just tears your heart out,” she said.
In late May, news of a young boy’s body on a Mountain Springs hiking trail devastated the Las Vegas community.
Originally dubbed “Little Zion Doe,” LVMPD worked with the FBI to send out multiple sketches to the media in an attempt to identify him.
Over a week later, he was identified as Liam Husted from San Jose, California.
“That’s just the real hard part about it,” said Las Vegas resident Andre Crockett at Sunday’s memorial. “You just throw a human away like he’s trash.”
Right now, the case is ongoing as detectives are trying to piece together exactly what happened.
However, they are working with a timeline on the movement of Liam and his mother in the days leading up to his death.
Police say his mother—Samantha Moreno Rodriguez— left their San Jose home with Liam on May 24th.
Investigators discovered a note for Liam’s dad Nick, explaining why she was leaving.
“I’m sorry that I had to do it like this,” read Lt. Ray Spencer, at a press conference Monday. “She also goes on to say that ‘I’m going to try to get a house for Liam and I.”
Police say nothing inside implied Liam was in danger.
After being spotted in California together, Liam and Samatha checked into a Las Vegas hotel the night of the 27th.
The next day, his body was found.
Rodriguez, who was arrested in Denver, is now facing an open murder charge in her son’s death.
On Sunday, Nick Husted came to his son’s memorial but was too overwhelmed to read a statement about his son. An organizer read it for him instead.
“I still can’t come to terms with the fact that I can never play, or swim, or hug and kiss my son,” she read. “I love you, son, I can’t wait to be with you again.”
Husted wore a T-shirt with his son’s picture on it, and his favorite blanket wrapped around his neck.
He described Liam as a helpful child who loved cooking and swimming. He also took a moment to thank the Las Vegas community for their love and support.
“To take him under your wing like he was your own when I wasn’t able to be here with him, really means a lot to me, and I know he appreciates it just as much as I do,” he said.