Couple charged in death of 5-year-old boy found buried sentenced after taking plea deals

CLEVELAND - The mother who was initially charged with murder in the death of Jordan Rodriguez, her 5-year-old son who was found buried in the backyard of a Cleveland home in December, pleaded guilty to lesser charges Thursday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Her boyfriend was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in the boy's death and backyard burial.

Larissa Rodriguez, 34, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children, and gross abuse of a corpse. A judge sentenced her to a total of 25 years in prison. 

After Rodriguez pleaded guilty, the state prosecutor told the court that Jordan was born 26 weeks premature, and was non-verbal. She said that he was buried in a 4-foot by 4-foot grave in the family's backyard, wrapped in blankets and trash bags by Rodriquez and her boyfriend Christopher Rodriguez after they woke up to find him dead on Sept. 22.  

The boy's body wasn't discovered until December. A tip call from Christopher's brother, serving in the military in Pakistan, led authorities to the gruesome discovery behind the family's home on W. 80th St. in Cleveland.

Christopher Rodriguez appeared in court moments later and pleaded guilty to the same four charges as Larissa. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison, the maximum sentence available for those charges.

Neither Rodriguez is eligible for parole.

Judge Nancy Russo teared up during Christopher Rodriguez's sentencing.

"What we do every day is so hard," she said. "People don’t give any of us the credit that we deserve for dealing with the horrors of the world before us. And Mr. Rodriguez – this is a horror. I know as a judge I’m not supposed to show emotion, and in 22 years I never have. This is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life."

Larissa Rodriguez was charged with murder a short time after the boy's body was found. Christopher Rodriguez was also facing a murder charge, authorities announced earlier this year. He was in the Medina County Jail for an unrelated case at the time Jordan's body was found.

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.

Larissa Rodriquez gave birth to her tenth child while in jail. That baby and two others are currently in foster care. Her six other children are with their fathers.

"You two have babies with no consideration. You just keep having them, having them, disregarding the value of their life. Disregarding their purpose in life, like they’re less than an object. No regard. I didn’t even hear you say you were sorry," Judge Russo said to Christopher. 

RELATED LINKS:

Everything we know about a missing 5-year-old boy, his mom and a body found behind a Cleveland home

Mother of 5-year-old boy found buried in backyard pleads guilty to food stamp fraud

Mother accused of killing 5-year-old son gives birth to 10th child in jail

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