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Death of 5-year-old boy found buried in backyard of Cleveland home ruled homicide

Posted at 2:27 PM, Feb 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-05 14:29:21-05

The death of a 5-year-old boy who was found buried in the backyard of a Cleveland home in December has been ruled a homicide. 

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death of Jordan Rodriguez as "homicide by unspecified means."

His body was found in the backyard of a home on West 80th Street after a man called 911 telling dispatchers that his brother confessed to burying a child in the backyard of his home with his girlfriend after she found the boy unresponsive.

The boy's mother, 34-year-old Larissa Rodriguez, was charged with murder a short time after the boy's body was found.

Larissa's five other children — ages 1 to 12 — were found in "deplorable and unsanitary" conditions, according to court documents. Authorities said the house was filled with rats and cockroaches and one of the woman's children was seen eating a sandwich with cockroaches in it. 

Authorities announced last week that Larissa's boyfriend, Christopher Rodriguez, is also facing a murder charge. He was in the Medina County Jail for an unrelated case at the time Jordan's body was found.

During the news conference last week, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor also said that a family services worker had accepted a bribe to "look the other way" before the boy's death.

According to the prosecutor's office, the family services worker would report to the home but, rather than going inside, she would accept a food stamp card from Larissa. The family services worker — identified as Nancy Caraballo — would then go and purchase goods with the card and return the card to Rodriguez afterward. Authorities say Caraballo purchased the food stamps, that were meant to feed the children, for 50 cents on the dollar.