Merced County Sheriff's Deputy Tom MacKenzie says a worker at the canal spotted the body around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and called 911. Authorities have not yet identified the child. But MacKenzie says the body matched the description of 4-year-old Juliani Cardenas.
Search teams have been combing the canal for over a week for signs of Juliani, who was taken on Jan. 18 from his Stanislaus County home.
The kidnapping suspect, Jose Rodriguez, is the ex-boyfriend of the child's mother.
Rodriguez's Toyota Corolla was pulled from the bottom of the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal on Friday with no signs of Juliani or Rodriguez inside.