Cuyahoga County

Investigation into Death of 5-year-old Leads to Indictments

1/31/2018

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley announced that a Grand Jury has indicted Christopher Rodriguez in connection with the death of 5-year-old Jordan Rodriguez. Larissa Rodriguez, the child’s mother, and a children’s services provider were also indicted in connection with a multi-year food stamp fraud scheme

Rodriguez, 36, the boyfriend of Larissa Rodriguez, 34, is each charged with Murder, Felonious Assault, Endangering Children, and Gross Abuse of a Corpse.

Christopher’s brother called 911 on December 18 from Pakistan to report that the pair had buried the deceased child in the backyard of their W. 80th Street home. Larissa is being held on a $1,000,000 bond. At the time of her arrest, Christopher was in Medina County jail on unrelated charges.

Prosecutor O’Malley said, “Christopher Rodriguez was intimately involved in the abuse and death of this child.”

A Grand Jury also indicted Larissa Rodriguez and Nancy Caraballo, a Parent Educator for Bright Beginnings, an agency that provides educational services and referrals to families with small children. She was employed by Catholic Charities, whom was contracted by Bright Beginnings.

Caraballo paid Rodriguez 50 cents for every $1.00 of her food stamp benefits, which totaled $10,058.18. The food stamp benefit was meant for Rodriguez’s five children, including Jordan. The fraud lasted from July 2015 to December 2017. 

Rodriguez and Caraballo have been charged with Illegal Use of Food Stamps, Grand Theft Telecommunications Fraud, Money Laundering, and Bribery. Caraballo was also charged with twelve counts of Tampering with Government Records.

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is intended to provide quality food and sustenance to families in need,” said Agent-in-Charge Greg Croft, of the Ohio Department. of Public Safety’s Ohio Investigative Unit. “Selfish criminal acts such as these, take the food from the children who cannot provide for themselves, making them the true victims of these crimes.”

Caraballo’s role required her to make monthly home visits to evaluate Rodriguez’s children and refer them for educational services. On at least eleven occasions, including the month before the discovery of Jordan’s body, Caraballo falsified her reports to cover-up the fact that she had not been inside the home.  

As a mandatory reporter, it was Caraballo’s responsibility to report neglect and abuse to the proper authorities. It has been documented the home was in deplorable condition at the time of Jordan’s death.

“I am appreciative of the work put into this case by not only our Cleveland Police officers, but our partners in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Through this effort we are able to hold all responsible parties accountable for this young boy’s death,” said Chief Calvin D. Williams

Read the indictment here.