Larissa Rodriguez, a mother of nine from Cleveland, Ohio, is under investigation for the death of her 5-year-old son, Jordan, after remains suspected to be his body were found buried in the family’s backyard.
The conditions in the home were labeled “deplorable” by authorities, and one report said another of Rodriguez’ children was seen eating a cockroach-infested sandwich. The house was filled with bugs and rats. Rodriguez was placed under arrest while authorities investigate her son’s death but has not been criminally charged. However, charges were expected December 21, Cleveland police said on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Remains of a Young Child Were Unearthed From the Backyard
Authorities have now confirmed that the human remains they found in the Cleveland home’s backyard are consistent with those of a small child. Larissa’s 5-year-old son, Jordan, was a special-needs child.
According to WKYC-TV, Larissa Rodriguez “told police her son was in Houston with his father.” The television station reported that Rodriguez claimed she had not seen the boy since December 2, alleging she had “no way of contacting his father.”
Reporter Homa Bash wrote on Twitter that the body found bore signs of abuse, including broken ribs. The remains are believed to be those of Jordan.
2. The Home Was Filled With Cockroaches
According to Fox 8 Cleveland, Rodriguez has demonstrated questionable parenting in the past. Of her nine children, “Two were taken away by the county previously due to parenting concerns. Two others are with their fathers. Four more have just been placed in foster care,” the news site reported.
Horrifically, one of the children ate a cockroach-infested sandwich. Rodriguez’s sisters spoke to WJYC-TV and said they “called children’s protective services on Larissa numerous times. When children’s services visited the home this week, they found it infested with cockroaches and rats. One of Larissa’s nine children was seen eating a sandwich that contained cockroaches.” They said Rodriguez is currently pregnant with her 10th child.
3. Authorities Were Alerted to the Body by a Call From Pakistan
A telephone call from Pakistan led Cleveland, Ohio police to the buried remains. “It’s kind of messed up, the whole situation, but my brother told me something and I just can’t sleep at night,” the caller said, according to journalist Homa Bash, who recounted the call on Twitter.
The caller was the brother of Larissa’s boyfriend, Christopher Rodriguez, according to Cleveland.com, which reported, “He told police that Christopher Rodriguez called him from jail and told him that Christopher and Larissa both buried Jordan in the backyard of the home two months ago after finding him unresponsive.”
4. The Boy’s Stepfather Is in Jail & He Was Allegedly Seen ‘Nearly Dead’ in a Closet
The deceased child has two incarcerated parents. According to Fox 8 Cleveland, his stepfather is in jail on a failure to pay child support accusation involving another woman.
The boy, who had special needs, was unable to speak. He was abused, according to relatives; his aunt, Ana Rodriguez told Cleveland.com that “she reported her sister and sister’s boyfriend to the county’s Job and Family Services several times, including once after seeing him tied up in the corner with a sock in his mouth.” A friend once told her that she observed Jordan “nearly dead” in a closet, the newspaper reported.
“That boy was special needs, premature,” Ana Rodriguez said to the Cleveland newspaper. “He needed help. And all they did was f—–g beat on him for no reason.”
5. Larissa’s Mother Was Murdered Years Ago
Ten years before she found herself back in the news, Larissa Rodriguez was featured on television in a story about her mother’s murder. According to Cleveland 19, Emma Rojas, who was Rodriguez’ adoptive mother, “was stabbed to death by her boyfriend.”
The story reported that Larissa had also been the victim of violence because “in 1998, records show the teen mom suffered bruises and contusions in a domestic violence incident with the father of her child.” As for Rojas, the story reported that she “was stabbed more than a dozen times in the chest, back and arms at a beauty shop on Clark Avenue in Cleveland. Rojas staggered to a nearby Walgreens, crying out for help.”
“She was loving, caring. If you needed her to be there, needed help, she would help you,” Larissa Rodriguez told the TV station.