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Cops and Courts

Cause of death is sought for remains found buried in yard

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A medical examiner on Wednesday was working to determine whether the apparent remains of a young child found buried in the backyard of a Cleveland home are that of a missing 5-year-old boy.

The boy's mother originally told police he was in Houston with his father. She has been taken into custody, but she has not been charged, said Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia.

Authorities spent two days searching for the missing child before investigators discovered the remains Tuesday, Ciaccia said.

Officers first went to the home Monday after receiving a tip from a relative who lives in Pakistan that the boy had been buried in the yard, according to a police report.

The mother, Larissa Rodriguez, told the officers she had five children living at the home and that her 5-year-old son had left with his aunt in early December to go to Texas, the report said. She also said that her son is developmentally disabled and unable to speak.

Officers searched the yard with cadaver dogs without finding anything. FBI and medical examiner investigators dug for about three hours Tuesday before finding the body.

Rodriguez was taken into custody in connection with the death after further investigation and interviews, Ciaccia said. It was not clear whether she had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.

The medical examiner will identify the body and determine a cause of death after an autopsy, Ciaccia said. Chris Harris, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County medical examiner, said the autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday. He could not say when any results would be released.

Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan told Cleveland.com that the county's children and family services agency has a long history with the mother, including removing her two oldest children from her custody several years ago.

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