Third, fourth cars not linked to Cardenas' kidnapping

4-year-old Juliani Cardenas

January 22, 2011 1:08:52 AM PST
A Stanislaus County family is still holding out hope tonight in the statewide search for 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas. A third and fourth car was pulled out of the Delta-Mendota Canal on Friday afternoon, but it wasn't the silver Toyota Corolla with the license plate 6HBW445 police are looking for. The boy was kidnapped this past Tuesday from his Patterson home and the main suspect is 27-year-old Jose Rodriguez.

The sheriff said they are concentrating so many resources because as far as they can tell, all their evidence in this case leads to this canal. Complicating their efforts though, is a waterway apparently filled with stolen cars.

"Once again we've recovered another stolen vehicle, so as always we remain hopeful that we're going to be able to find Juliani alive and bring him home. That's our goal," Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said.

The latest car pulled from the canal was, a red Ford Mustang, was up against an underwater siphon system and its location was just a few yards from where a witness reported seeing a car similar to the Corolla going into the water Tuesday night. This car was located using side-scanning sonar that was lowered into the murky water. A last-ditch effort to survey the area around the siphon was deemed too dangerous for divers.

"It's not metal that you're looking for, it's structure. It's a deflection of the sound waves, so it could be metal, plastic," James Buttrey from the Merced County Sheriff' Department said.

After the red car was pulled out, sonar technicians moved their efforts to another part of the canal.

"There are no credible leads ladies and gentleman that are taking us in another direction. If there were, we'd be after that," Christianson said.

Juliani's mother, Tabitha Cardenas, showed reporters her son's room and photos of the boy with Jose Rodriguez in happier times. She expressed her continued faith that Juliani is alive.

"I'm just worried about Juliani not eating right, and I know he wants to come home. Jose just needs to bring him home," she said.

An AMBER Alert is still active and anyone with information is urged to contact the police. They have had reported sighting throughout California, but none of them have been confirmed.