10th car pulled from Delta-Mendota Canal

A 10th car was pulled from the Delta-Mendota Canal in search for a missing 4-year-old Patterson boy.

January 27, 2011 10:02:58 AM PST
Divers were back in a canal in Stanislaus County, looking for clues in the disappearance of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas. His family says the child was taken by the mother's ex-boyfriend, Jose Estaban Rodriguez, eight days ago, January 18th.

Searchers have now covered a 12 mile stretch of the Delta-Mendota canal and found another object that they hope to pull out of the water this evening.

"So far this area of the canal here remains the best lead, it's believed this is where the car may have entered the water. Investigators say there's an area here that's so dangerous divers haven't covered it all. They're back here after spending the day focused on an area where even investigators admit it's almost impossible the car would have been

Searching for a needle in a haystack might actually be easier than hunting for a silver Toyota Corolla in the Delta-Mendota Canal. For the sixth day, searchers combed through the murky waters, hoping that dragging cables over every inch will snag something, anything that leads them to Juliani.

"The evidence in this case is still pointing us in the direction that the car is in the water," says Sheriff's Dep. Royjindar Singh.

From divers with their sonar equipment to drivers with their tow trucks, the search has now spanned 12 miles of the winding canal.

They're now focused on an area five miles away from where a farm worker says he saw the car drive into the water, investigators say that would mean the car would have had to pass through gates and under bridges. It's almost impossible, but the Delta-Mendota and the farm worker's tip remains their best lead.

"We are looking for the car but also any potentially victims that could still be in the water," says Singh.

Today's chapter brought this to the surface, a spare tire and a moment of hope; the Toyota Jose Rodriguez was last seen driving has a spare tire. He's accused of snatching Juliani from his grandmother's arms eight days ago.

But for the 10th time now, this wasn't the car, it was a blue Nissan. For the dive teams, going in and out of the canal all day long, the search is more than tedious - it must be done.

"It's taxing. It's a lot of work it's a lot of in and out trying to figure out what you got. It wears you down, but you got to get it done," says Stanislaus Dep. Steve Macedo.

The suspect's car is described as a silver Toyota Corolla with a California license plate number: 6HBW445. Thursday update:

The sheriff's department believes they've exhausted the capabilities of their dive operations has suspended their search in the canal. Crews will now go back to the drawing board to figure out their next move to search for the car used in Juliani's abduction.

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