Arrest Made in 8-year-old Sandra Cantu Murder Case

April 11, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Police announced early Saturday morning they have arrested 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby for the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, who disappeared from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park in Tracy, California on the afternoon of March 27th. Sandra’s body was found 10 days later, stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in a farm pond. Earlier Friday,  Huckaby had told reporters a suitcase had been stolen from her on March 27 – the day Sandra disappeared. Huckaby was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail Saturday morning on suspicion of kidnapping and murder after voluntarily coming in for questioning.

Early in the investigation, Huckaby told authorities Cantu had come over to her mobile home to play with her 5-year-old daughter on the day she disappeared.  FBI agents had searched the mobile home Huckaby shared with her grandparents, as well as her SUV. Huckaby is a Sunday school teacher at the nearby Clover Road Baptist Church, where her grandfather is the pastor.  However according to local Fox40 News, she has a prior police record, convicted of felony charge of second degree commercial burglary and a misdemeanor charge of property theft and served time in Los Angeles County.  Police have not said how Sandra died, and autopsy results are pending. Huckaby, 28, is in jailat this time but police do not reportedly understand the motive of her heinous crime.


13 Responses to “Arrest Made in 8-year-old Sandra Cantu Murder Case”

  1. Jerry Ulibarri on April 11th, 2009 8:50 am

    I hate that these things happen, and can’t help but think of the kids in my own family every time it does.

    It’s incredible to think that this woman is the murderer, but somehow settling at the same time. It’s at least a start toward the healing of Sandra Cantu’s community, and the acceptance of her family.

  2. Jo on April 11th, 2009 9:45 am

    I still have issues wrapping my mind around the fact that people want to kill other people (adults) but how can any adult want to kill a child? It’s something that is hard to wrap my mind around. If this lady did this, she is very mentally can you kill anyone, let alone a child…Makes me want to hold my kids tight and not let go for a long time for fear of the crazies.

  3. Dee on April 11th, 2009 2:11 pm

    In a video I saw that Huckaby was recently questioned by police after she had returned another 5 year old playmate of her daughter’s to that child’s home. That child was found to have NARCOTICS in her system, she’d been DRUGGED.

    I’ve seen people commenting around that Huckaby couldn’t have carried that suitcase and disposed of it herself. Yes, she could have. She’s a huge woman and I’m sure she could carry and heave that suitcase.

    Also, her BOYFRIEND is already in custody for completely different charges, so there was no need to go looking for him as an accomplice, he’s already readily available for questioning. The important thing was to apprehend the perpetrator who was on the loose, which the Tracy police did, and I respect and an grateful to them.

    I don’t know what the heck is the matter with Huckaby and I don’t care. Whatever she’s done to any child should be done to her, without haste.

  4. Dee on April 11th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Just want to clarify: I DID mean “without haste,” as in, slowly, painfully. Time to think about what she did and suffer almost endlessly for Huckaby.

  5. Jim on April 11th, 2009 4:11 pm

    This is highly typical of murdered children, too bad sensationalism often causes people of a community to look for a serial killer and not the real murderer. One thing mothers and fathers should never do is say something in public about “what they might do if someone hurt their child”. This can give ideas to your enemies about how to hurt you the most. Possibly the case here!!!The child did nothing wrong, but was used to hurt the parent (s).

  6. MissouriMom on April 11th, 2009 5:34 pm

    HOW can we view this video………The video you saw that Huckaby was responsible such a crime. Plese post on MY SPACE so the world can view……….PLEASE

  7. christine soto on April 11th, 2009 8:31 pm

    Im so stunned on what has happend to that sweet inicient little girl (Sandra),
    first my heart and prayers goe out to the Cantu family.
    Its so disturbing to me and millions of others, what kindve people are out there and how we have to be over protective of our children, now i read on another comment that, the mother Maria Cantu knew Sandra was going to her friends house, i also read that especially in that area you would never think something like that would happen, but to everyone, even if jus a few houses down you can never be to sure. theres ill people all around the world who will have motives in harming young children. Our children. I heard right away when Sandra went missing because im familliar with tracy i have friends of my own in that city, and it was so shocking that a young girl went missing in that area, so i watched the news everynight waiting to hear them say they found Sandra and she has returned home safe. i prayed for Sandra everynight hopeing she would be found, and returned home safe. along those 10 days and 10 nights of searching, and along with whats come now i felt i knew her. shes a very beautifull little girl whos resting in heavon. im very pleased along with millions of others that her killer has been arrested and soon will face justice. WE MISS YOU SANDRA : (

  8. christine soto on April 11th, 2009 8:41 pm

    Its crazy too admit this but i too agree with dee on the comment she left, Its jus something you cant let go of , on what happend, you want that person to suffer, I believe that god forgives. but i dont think this time, Sandra was an angel, sweet little girl totally inicient was just beginning to live her life. i also believe that god has a perpose and a plan for each and everyone of us, but i know that wasnt the plan god had for Sandra. thats why i dont think the killer deserves to live the rest of her life. For what she did, i dont care what happens to her, i do care if she dosent suffer the rest of her life!!!!! im a young mother i have a 4yr old daughter i cant even imagine what the Cantu family is going threw, once again my heart and prayers go out to the Cantu family. REST IN PIECE SANDRA

  9. B Jo on April 11th, 2009 11:50 pm

    is there a safe place for our children to go and play with other children in there homes? i would have never guessed a woman did this. i cant imagine what went thru little sandra’s mind when she was killing her. her sunday school teacher, neighbor, friend and her pastors granddaughter. i would have let my child go to play, with no questions asked. so now who do we trust? nobody…….if you cant trust the people of your church family, this is a sad day. god bless Sandra’s family. know that Sandra is resting in a loving Gods arms. Shes at peace and skipping all over those streets of gold.

  10. carol holmes on April 13th, 2009 2:19 am

    This is the most gut wrenching case yet. I would bet that she got into it with Sandra’s mother or another family member as to what went down the day Huckaby killed the child. If the five year old child she took to that park had drugs in her system was that child intended to be murdered too. I think there is a man involved in the planning of the childs murder. Something tells me she confessed
    to her boyfriend about the murder the night of. I also wonder if Sandra could have overheard something said at the home of Huckaby or saw something she wasn’t suppose to see like child abuse of the children living there. Out of fear that Sandra would talk she snuffed the childs life. Tracy PD did a fine job in finding her killer.
    I have four granddaughters and I worry about them everytime they come to visit with some of the trash I see driving up and down our street. Closure never comes when a child is murdered. The why question never leaves one’s mind.
    From the looks of the vidio tape of her skipping she looked like she was headed to the mobil home with the railing but when she turns her head you can tell that someone called out to her. Which was probably Huckaby. I hope the family of Sandra can find peace and that the killer gets what she deserves. Considering she was in the hospital for a ulcer and had internal bleeding God may be working in mysterious ways already.
    Rest In Peace Sandra

  11. lady on April 15th, 2009 1:38 pm

    oh my god I hate that things happen….

  12. mj redden on April 18th, 2009 12:49 pm

    i just think tht tis harable thing has happened to this poor inecent child tht didnt do anything . i just want to know why she didnt this u have to be sick do do anything to a child or kill a child

  13. rachel halbert on April 18th, 2009 12:53 pm

    this truly sickens me. i heard about this and spent my night crying. the video of her skipping broke my heart. her smile in her picture radiated innocence. the woman thst did this is a sick monster. my prayers go out to the cantu’s and their daughter.

Got something to say? **Please Note** - Comments may be edited for clarity or obscenity, and all comments are published at the discretion of - Comments are the opinions of the individuals leaving them, and not of or its partners. - Please do not spam or submit comments that use copyright materials, hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge are also not permitted.