Mother of 5-year-old boy found buried in backyard pleads guilty in food stamp trafficking case

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The mother accused of killing her 5-year-old son who was found buried in a backyard pleaded guilty to several charges in a related food stamp trafficking case Monday.

Larissa Rodriguez, 34, pleaded guilty to trafficking in food stamps, telecommunications fraud, grand theft and money laundering. She will be sentenced April 16. She could face up to 10 years in prison in the case.

Rodriguez's son, Jordan Rodriguez, was found buried in the backyard of his home on Cleveland's west side in December.

County child welfare workers had received 18 complaints about the mother’s parenting which led to 13 investigations over many years.

The county over that time had taken children away from Larissa Rodriguez. But the little boy’s death led relatives and others to scream that the county had not done enough to spot danger and do something about it in this case.

The county does, however, point the finger at a family case worker with Catholic Charities who’d been in the home. Investigators say Nancy Caraballo had bought thousands of dollars worth of food stamps from Larissa Rodriguez, but she never reported deplorable conditions in the home or danger.

Caraballo is set to appear separately in the food stamp case.

The murder trial in Jordan’s case could happen in the next several weeks.

Continuing coverage of this story here

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