Melissa Huckaby Murders Sandra Cantu

Melissa Huckaby is a killer from California who was convicted in the murder of eight year old Sandra Cantu

According to court documents Melissa Huckaby would kidnap eight year old Sandra Cantu who would be sexually assaulted and then murdered. Huckaby would put the body of the little girl into a suitcase and threw it away

Apparently in the month leading up to the kidnapping of Sandra Cantu Melissa Huckaby had attempted to kidnap a seven year old girl by drugging her as well as a man

On the surface Melissa Huckaby was a Sunday School teacher however behind closed doors she was a dangerous pedophile

Melissa Huckaby would be arrested, plead guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison

Melissa Huckaby Videos

Melissa Huckaby Case

A former Sunday school teacher from Tracy pleaded guilty Monday to murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, sparing her the death penalty for a killing that sent shockwaves around the country.

Melissa Huckaby, 29, entered her plea in a Stockton courtroom to murder with a special circumstance for kidnapping, said Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau of San Joaquin County. Huckaby faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when she is sentenced June 14 by Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus.

Huckaby pleaded guilty during what had been scheduled as a procedural hearing in advance of a trial set for this fall. In exchange for her plea, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty and dropped other charges, including child endangerment and furnishing a harmful substance for allegedly drugging a 7-year-old girl and a man in the months before Sandra died.

Sandra was last seen March 27, 2009, when a surveillance video captured images of her skipping near her home in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park in Tracy. Her body was found in a suitcase April 6, 2009, in a dairy farm’s irrigation pond 2 miles from her home.

Huckaby also lived in the mobile home park and is the mother of one of Sandra’s playmates. She was arrested four days after Sandra’s body was found and was originally charged with murder and three special circumstances – the kidnapping allegation, that she had performed a lewd or lascivious act on the girl, and that she had raped her with a foreign object.

Attorneys in the case would not comment about Huckaby’s plea because a judge’s gag order remained in effect.

Much is still not known about the case, and authorities have not gone into detail about how they believe Sandra died.

However, sources close to the investigation have told The Chronicle that they believe the girl was killed at the Clover Road Baptist Church, where Huckaby taught Sunday school and where her grandfather is the pastor.

The church is two blocks from the mobile home park where Sandra lived with her mother, three older siblings and her grandparents, and where Huckaby resided with her grandparents.

Sandra’s disappearance triggered a 10-day search that gripped Tracy, and missing-child posters were spread all over Northern California. Thousands showed up at a memorial for Sandra, who loved cooking, gardening, “Hannah Montana” and Hello Kitty.

Hours before her arrest, Huckaby told a reporter for the Tracy Press that the suitcase in which Sandra’s body was found belonged to her. She said it was stolen out of her driveway the day the girl vanished.

Huckaby had been undergoing mental evaluation as a result of an earlier petty-theft conviction, and relatives said she had battled depression. Sources said she tried to commit suicide in the days before her arrest by swallowing razor blades.
Community stunned

Many in the community were stunned to learn that Huckaby was the suspect. Only 5 percent of pedophiles in the United States are female, and criminal profilers said it is almost unheard of for a woman to perform the kind of sex crime of which Huckaby was accused.

“Nobody saw this coming when little Sandra Cantu disappeared,” said Marc Klaas, whose daughter, Polly, was kidnapped and killed by career criminal Richard Allen Davis in 1993. “I think everybody thought it was a stereotypical male, sexual predator-type of event, and as things unfolded, and it became clear that it was this ex-Sunday school teacher, I think it created a lot of extra concern in the hearts and minds of parents of little kids.”

Klaas, who runs the KlaasKids Foundation, said Huckaby’s guilty plea means that Sandra’s family “is not going to have to go through the torment of reliving the last few moments of Sandra’s life on a daily basis in the courtroom. I think that it’s a good thing.”

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