"It's frustrating," said Stanislaus County sheriff Adam Christianson. "We keep thinking we may have the right car and can bring closure to this case and then it turns out to be just another stolen car."
A Merced County team lowered its sonar tracking device into the canal in the morning and spotted what turned out to be the Mustang.
But with zero visibility in the fast-flowing water, a diver had to hook the car to a tow truck and pull the car out of the water to determine whether it was the same vehicle Jose Rodriguez was seen driving right before police say he kidnapped 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas.
Since the kidnapping, Rodriguez hasn't left any electronic imprint. He stopped using his cell phone and credit cards.
"We're still hoping Juliani is alive, but right now, unfortunately, this canal is our most credible lead," said Sheriff Christianson.
We got a look inside Juliani's room at home Friday -- the room where he was king. His mother has cleaned the room so it'll be ready if he comes home.
"He's still alive," said Tabitha Cardenas. "He probably might not be eating good or getting enough water because he likes to drink a lot of water."
The water was calm on the canal during the search, with two of the Delta's pumps turned off and floodgates closed for 30 minutes.
But for Juliani's mother, finding peace is much more difficult.
"When i pray it makes me cry," Cardenas said. "I just try to think, 'I put my faith in you God. I know you're gonna bring him home.'"NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
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