When Kendrick first went missing back in 2006, people turned out in droves to find the little boy. But they never did, and now his father is about to be tried.
To prove someone was murdered, you have to first prove the person has died. KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says to prove that to a jury, without a body, is a huge challenge.
Roderick Fountain was in court on pre-trial motions Monday. He goes on trial later this week for felony murder in the alleged beating death of his three-year-old son Kendrick, even though the child's body has never been found.
Androphy said, "It's very speculative unless you have the body."
When Kendrick was reported missing in April 2006, hundreds of volunteers turned out to look for him. The child had been staying at Fountain's apartment at the time, and the father told police his child had run off. But investigators said his story never added up.
After weeks of looking, with no trace of Kendrick, the searches were called off. Then in June 2009, there was a huge development. Fountain was charged with his child's murder while he was serving 15 years in prison on a weapons conviction.
Prosecutor Connie Spence told Eyewitness News there was enough evidence, based on statements she said Fountain made to other people.
But Androphy says for the state to prove felony murder without a body will be tough.
He said, "If he confessed to anybody, to friends or family members, you know, that could be enough."
But if those other people are cellmates, Androphy says the jury will have reasonable doubt. And even if there's a conviction, he says on appeal it would likely be overturned.
"The law says you have to have more than just a little evidence," Androphy said. "You have to have substantial evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the child is dead."
According to the district attorney's office, in the last 25 years in Harris County there have been about six convictions for murder without a body.