PATTERSON -- In central California's Delta-Mendota canal this morning, divers found the Toyota Corolla that a man used to carry away a 4-year-old boy he kidnapped from Patterson last week. It was not known if any bodies were in the vehicle.
"We will not know what's in the car until we bring it out of the water," Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said at a late-morning news conference on the canal bank.
Investigators declared the area a crime scene and prepared to pull the vehicle from the water. At 11:20 a.m., Christianson said that would happen in about four hours, which would be sometime around 3 p.m.
The car remained underneath the water, the level of which had been temporarily lowered to make the search easier for divers. They've been battling strong currents in the canal for days in their search for Jose Rodriguez, who snatched Juliani Cardenas from his grandmother's arms Jan. 18.
A farmworker told authorities he had seen a car matching the description of the Toyota enter the canal later that day.
Lacking any credible leads from elsewhere, investigators centered their search on the canal. Divers spotted and recovered 13 other vehicles, most of them stolen over the past few years, before the Toyota was identified today.
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