Tragic Ending...

Body Of 8-Year-Old Sandra Cantu Found in Suitcase - Tracy, CA
The body of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu who had been missing for 10 days from her Northern California home was found Monday, stuffed inside a suitcase found in a irrigation pond. It brought a tragic end to a search that drew hundreds of volunteers to the small town of Tracy. How and why she died is still not clear, police say. An autopsy will be performed today to determine the cause of death.

The outgoing second-grader went to visit a friend Friday and never made it home. Chavez said her niece, who lived with her mother, grandparents and three older siblings, had played at a friend's house in the park after school Friday before coming home to check in around 4 p.m. She told her family she was heading over to another friend's house. That was the last time she was seen. "She usually checks in with her mom," Chavez said. "It was dinnertime … and she wasn't here."

Video from a surveillance camera outside the family's house showed Sandra walking away from her home, also away from the only exit to the mobile home park. Chavez said the family learned later that the friend Sandra set out to visit wasn't home at the time.

The body was found a few miles from her trailer park home, which is still roped off by police tape, the AP reported. (full story - continued...)


Sunday School Teacher Booked in Sandra Cantu's Murder
The arrest of Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby, 28, of Tracy, Calif., on suspicion of kidnapping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found stuffed into the teacher's suitcase in an irrigation pond, has brought little relief to a shocked community.

Huckaby's arrest, which came shortly before midnight Friday, dealt a double blow to close-knit Tracy, already shattered by young Sandra's death. The arrest brought little relief to the family, only disbelief that it was someone who lived just a few doors down from the Cantu home.

Police gave no motive for the killing, but believe Sandra was killed soon after the video showing the second-grader skipping in her neighborhood March 27 was recorded.
"I hope she rots for this," said Amber Austin, a Tracy resident. "You have no right to take an innocent child's life." (video)


xfileluv said...

So very sad. RIP, Sandra.

seattle said...

im really upset that they treated this as though it was a missing person case rather than an abduction. no amber alert was issued.

err on the side of caution and probability.

one had to wonder had it been listed as an abduction from day one, would this little girl be found alive?

SFC said...

This is absolutely heartbreaking. I have been following this story closely, and had dearly wished for a different outcome.

ericsmom said...

oh this is terrible. I wonder the same... Any missing child case in my opinion should be treated as a kidnapping.

I can't agree more. What's wrong with people! Disgusting

Jane Doe said...

Seeing this little girl skipping on the surveillance camera just broke my heart. I wanted to so badly for her to be found. Missing children cases always touch me, but this one really got hold of me. The reasons the authorities provided for not treating this as an amber alert case made no sense to me. I feel so deeply for the parents and family of this beautiful little girl.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I know. It took everything I had not to break down when I found out this morning. I am crushed that this little girl will never be able to grow up....

Rhea said...

I'm heartbroken over this...

I just felt in my heart that she would be found alive and reunited with her parents. I just KNEW it.

I hope she wasn't tortured or raped. I hope everything was quick and she wasn't too afraid...

nc said...

I am so sorry for her family's loss.

I would like to point out, however, that sadly kids go missing every single day, most never to be seen again.

Like with this case, I hope that every child would be found and returned home safely, but sadly this isn't always the case.

lovesthegirls said...

I can not believe the evil that would stuff a human being into a suitcase. My heart aches and my stomach is sick. LITERALLY. How sad. There really are no words. She is in heaven now...

Marypoppin'pills said...

Nana said...

Police in the Northern California city of Tracy arrested Melissa Huckaby early Saturday for suspicion of kidnapping and murder in the death of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, CBS station KPIX-TV in San Francisco reported and police confirmed.

The 28-year-old Huckaby is a Sunday school teacher and the granddaughter of the pastor of Clover Road Baptist Church, which was searched by authorities for a second time Friday.

Huckaby's arrest comes after she was questioned by police detectives for several hours on Friday night. She had sent a text message telling KPIX that she was on the way to meet with police detectives.

At 2:25 a.m. Pacific time, police drove Huckaby out of their headquarters in an unmarked car, headed for jail. Sgt. Tony Sheneman then publicly announced the arrest at a 3 a.m. news conference.

Sandra's body was found inside a suitcase in an irrigation pond on April 6.

In a phone interview on Friday, Huckaby had told KPIX that Sandra visited her home March 27, the day she disappeared. Huckaby also said she had left a suitcase in the driveway that day, and that it was missing.

Huckaby is the granddaughter of Pastor Clifford Lawless, whose church was the subject of a police searches on Tuesday and Friday in connection with the girl's death. Huckaby also taught Sunday school at the church.

Huckaby was recently convicted for petty theft in San Joaquin County. According to court records, Huckaby claimed she was not mentally competent to stand trial. The judge ordered her to be examined by physicians.

Later, it was determined that she was competent and she pleaded guilty. Huckaby was also convicted in November of 2006 for petty theft at the Bellflower Superior Court in Los Angeles County.

Apr 11, 2009 7:13:00 AM

Thank you for the Update, Nana.

ericsmom said...

This woman is a mother??? I can't believe a mother would do this. I was shocked to find out it was a neighborhood mom with a five year old. That is the main suspect.

I think Sandra was going over to play with her daughter? Not sure on details but it might have been the case. If so I wonder did she walk on something going on in the house. And maybe, they were afraid she might tell her parents

who knows this is too sad.