A Sunday school teacher, Melissa Huckaby, has been arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of eight year old Sandra Cantu from Tracy, California.
Twenty eight year old Melissa Huckaby, the granddaughter of a pastor is the mother of a playmate of Sandra’s. What in the hell caused her to murder a little girl? Some folks are shocked that a mom has been arrested for Sandra’s murder. These are dangerous times out here and you have to be very careful about who your children are with.
Melissa Huckaby, 28, the granddaughter of a pastor, is suspected of killing her daughter’s playmate, Sandra Cantu of Tracy, Calif., whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase.
By Ruben Vives and Rong-Gong Lin II
A Sunday school teacher was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and killing her daughter’s 8-year-old playmate, Sandra Cantu of Tracy, Calif., after admitting to police that she owned the suitcase in which Sandra’s body was found, authorities said Saturday.
Melissa Chantel Huckaby, 28, the granddaughter of a pastor, was taken into custody late Friday night, about five hours after she drove herself to a police station for questioning, said Sgt. Tony Sheneman of the Tracy Police Department.
“I couldn’t begin to even theorize what her motive is,” Sheneman said at a news conference that was streamed live on the Internet. “The outcome alone is beyond explanation.”
Sandra’s mother, Maria Chavez, 41, was grief-stricken and in shock, said Angie Chavez, Sandra’s aunt.
“How could another mother do this to another child?” she said Maria Chavez had asked her.
A break in the investigation into Sandra’s death came after Huckaby gave an interview Friday to the Tracy Press, telling the newspaper that she had owned a large, black, rolling suitcase that she said was stolen March 27, the same day Sandra disappeared.
Huckaby’s description of her suitcase resembled the one that contained Sandra’s body, the newspaper reported.
Last Monday, farmworkers discovered the suitcase at a dairy farm irrigation pond about 2 1/2 miles north of the girl’s home. Inside, investigators found the dead child dressed in the same clothes she was last seen wearing — a pink “Hello Kitty” T-shirt, black leggings and “Hannah Montana” flip-flops.
Huckaby’s interview with the local newspaper was inconsistent with what she had told investigators earlier, police said Saturday.
After reading the published report, investigators asked Huckaby to come to the police station for more questioning Friday night.
“She revealed enough information to us that we had probable cause to arrest her,” Sheneman said Saturday. “She admitted yesterday and to the Tracy Press that the suitcase was hers.”
Huckaby told the Tracy Press that she had packed the suitcase with supplies to spruce up her church classroom. But she said she forgot it, leaving it outside on her driveway at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park where she lived.
You can check out the Tracy Press article here.