"All evidence points to a car being in the water," said Stanislaus County Sheriff's spokesman Raj Singh. "Our goal is to find it, or rule this out as a lead."
Authorities continue to follow up on a tip that led to tire tracks and a broken string of buoys. They are searching for a silver Toyota containing 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas and Jose Esteban Rodriguez, the man police suspect of abducting him last Tuesday. The case generated an AMBER Alert that remains in effect for San Jose and California's Central Valley.
"We have to be patient with things like this," said local resident Almador Navarro, who waited at a roadblock in his car.
But for people unfamiliar with this area, it's a surprise to see crews pulling so many vehicles from the canal. "We have done six so far," said Doug Borges, who runs the wrecking truck. And, that was early, today...before he pulled three more cars and a stolen motorcycle in less than 100 yards, making the total nine, and still counting.
Those numbers do not surprise local residents. "Well, I was out there fishing one day and watched them haul four in an hour," said Preston Jacks, as he too, waited for a roadblock to clear. "You know they're out there."
Meantime, the family of Juliani Cardenas remains at home, secluded, in the company of an FBI agent.
"We just want to give them some closure," said Deputy Singh.
The suspect's car is described as a silver Toyota Corolla with a California license plate number: 6HBW445.
A vigil took place Tuesday night in Patterson. The event was put on by Juliani's mother in hopes that her son will soon be returned safely.