10 years later: Ivan Cano's disappearance and tragic death

Ten years ago, a massive search was underway in Louisville for a missing 4-year-old child. The search for Ivan Cano was the greatest use of resources Louisville Metro Police Department had ever seen. Despite the officers' around-the-clock efforts, it was

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – June 29, 2007, four-year-old Ivan Cano disappears from his home near Churchill Downs.

His parents spoke little to no English but it was clear something was horribly wrong.

Police officers, along with neighbors and volunteers, searched the Oakdale neighborhood but still no sign of Ivan.

On the morning of July 7, a gruesome discovery.

A child’s body was found in a Louisville garbage truck, a short distance from Ivan’s home.

"This is a brutal, brutal crime against a four-year-old baby," Christopher 2X said.

Ten years later, memories from that morning continue to haunt retired Louisville Metro Police Department Major David Wood.

Detectives had to meticulously sift through the trash to get to the child’s body, carefully collecting every piece of garbage as evidence. Knowing in their gut, the inevitable awaited.

"You could kinda feel the anger when we first found him. You know, who could do something like this to a child? And then eventually when they got the body, recovered the body, and put it into the body bag you could feel a lot of sadness in the officers," Detective Wood said.

Two days after sanitation workers found the child's body inside a garbage truck, police went to the Cano family's home to tell them the body found was indeed their son.

Ivan was later buried in his mother's native country of Guatemala.

Weeks later, police arrested Cecil New, a registered sex offender who lived nearby.

New told police he got that chance on June 29th, 2007 when he said Ivan wandered into his home.

“New described Cano screaming for his mother saying, 'mama! Mama!' saying that hurt when New grabbed him." He describes that he's in a fit of rage basically, he picks up the child takes him to the bathroom. New tells police he took Cano into his bathroom, filled his bathtub with water, took off Cano's shorts and placed the 4-year-old in the water. New held the boy under water with his foot until he drowned,” former WHAS11 News reporter Mike Columbo said in an archived report.

In October 2010, a shocking turn of events.

New pleaded guilty to Ivan's murder and kidnapping one day before his trial was to set to begin.

At his sentencing, the judge shows no mercy.

"Living outside of death row, in general population, in fear of prison justice every day is a hell more suited to you, Mr. New, than living under the protective eyes of death row,” the judge said. "It's a sentence that this court believes will meet out the harshest punishment currently available. You deserve nothing less than the harshest punishment."

The judge called Ivan a reminder of what's most precious in life – a reminder to protect those little gifts always.

It's a case Louisville will never forget and a reminder of just how cruel the world can be.

“Anybody that can take advantage of a small child like that and manipulate them into what they want to do and then murder them it's just – it's unfathomable that they would take the life of a small child like that you know. Somebody that cannot resist, doesn't really understand what was going on until it was too late and then I can imagine the terror the child would have had knowing that these are the last moments of their life and that these persons are gonna take their life." 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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