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Test confirms boy’s identity

POSTED February 4, 2011 9:14 p.m.

The DNA test samples submitted to the California Department of Justice have confirmed the child found in a canal Tuesday is that of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas.

Earlier this week the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department announced that the autopsy results indicated Juliani Cardenas died from drowning.

Cheek swab samples from Juliani Cardenas’ mother, Tabitha Cardenas, were matched against samples taken during the autopsy. Tabitha Cardenas was notified by detectives of the positive results, according to the sheriff’s department.

The child’s body was recovered Tuesday morning in the Delta-Mendota canal near the Santa Nella area. The grim discovery was made by an employee with the Bureau of Reclamation performing a regular maintenance check.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Jose Esteban Rodriguez for homicide, though law enforcement officials believe his body is also somewhere in the canal’s water.

No funeral arrangements for Cardenas have been announced as of yet.

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