Re: Cantu murdered in church



On Apr 12, 1:31 pm, "Kris Baker" <parallelcoo...@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/12/national/main4937253.shtml

Police: Cantu Was Murdered In Church
CBS News Has Learned Investigators Believe 8-Yr-Old
Girl Was Killed Where Suspect Worked As Sunday School Teacher

TRACY, Calif., April 12, 2009

(CBS/AP)  CBS News has learned that police in Tracy believe 8-year-old
Sandra Cantu was murdered in the church where her accused killer was a
Sunday school teacher.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, was arrested early Saturday morning and charged with
kidnapping and murder.

Huckaby's grandfather is pastor of the Clover Road Baptist Church, near the
mobile home park where Sandra Cantu's family lives. Police searched the
church Friday in the hours before Huckaby was arrested, filling a van with
evidence bags.

Police and residents in Tracy responded with shock when the suspect in the
murder of a young girl turned out to be a woman, the mother of the slain
girl's best friend.

Melissa Huckaby was on suicide watch Saturday at the San Joaquin County
Jail, where she is held on suspicion of kidnapping and killing 8-year-old
Sandra Cantu. The girl's body was found in one of Huckaby's suitcases in an
irrigation pond nearly a week ago, police said.

"This was an anomaly in the murder of a child," police Sgt. Tony Sheneman
said at a news conference Saturday. "Finding out that it is a woman who is
responsible for Sandra's kidnapping and murder, and then finding out it is a
member of the community is another blow."

FBI statistics show women are involved in just 7 percent of murders of any
sort. Solo killings of children by women are even more unusual.

"A review of data from the 2007 Uniform Crime Report confirms that the
arrest of Melissa Huckaby in the Sandra Cantu murder investigation is
uncommon," said FBI spokesman Steve Dupre in Sacramento.

Sandra disappeared on March 27 and hundreds of volunteers and law
enforcement officials turned out to search for her. Pictures of the girl
with dark brown eyes and light brown hair were posted all over Tracy, a city
of 78,000 people about 60 miles east of San Francisco. Police said they
received 1,500 tips in the hunt for Sandra and her killer.

"It's very unusual for women to be involved in an abduction and murder of a
child," said Candice DeLong, a retired FBI profiler based in San Francisco.
"Sometimes we see this when the woman is working with a male partner. It
does not appear to be the case this time. But this was not a sexually
motivated crime."

Huckaby attended the second of the several vigils for the slain girl,
Sheneman said.

On April 6, farmworkers draining an irrigation pond found the suitcase.

Sheneman said investigators have no motive for the slaying, which drew
national attention. Police declined to say where or how the girl was
allegedly killed. Inconsistencies in Huckaby's story led to her arrest,
Sheneman said.

There are no other suspects and no other arrests are expected, he said.

Huckaby is a granddaughter of Pastor Clifford Lawless, and taught Sunday
school at the Clover Road Baptist Church. She lived with Lawless in the
Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park that also was Sandra's home.
Huckaby is a granddaughter of Pastor Clifford Lawless, and taught Sunday
school at the Clover Road Baptist Church. She lived with Lawless in the
Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park that also was Sandra's home.

I wouldn't have anything bad to say about her, until now.

Matt Duncan, of former employee Melissa HuckabyHuckaby's uncle, John Hughes
Jr. of Whittier, said his niece was from a good home, but had hit a rough
patch in her life and moved in with her grandparents in Tracy to get past
her troubles.

"They opened their home up to her to try to get her life back on track. I
think a lot of families have problems like that," Hughes said.

Huckaby was scheduled to appear in court on April 17 to check in with a
county mental health program as part of a three-year probation sentence for
a petty theft charge to which she pleaded no contest.

She was arrested about five hours after she drove herself to the local
police station at the request of officers. She is being held without bail
for an arraignment Tuesday.

"She was calm, cool and collected, then she became very emotional," Sheneman
said.

The slain girl's family was as puzzled as police.

"Why?" wondered her uncle, Joe Chavez, shaking his head. He said Huckaby
should face the death penalty if convicted.

It was not immediately clear if Huckaby had hired an attorney.

Police said autopsy results are not yet available, and they declined to say
whether investigators believe the slaying was accidental or deliberate.

She had worked as a checker at a Food for Less grocery store in a strip mall
just east of the mobile park for nearly four years, until she was fired
sometime in 2004, said Matt Duncan, an assistant manager at the store now
known as FoodMaxx.

"I wouldn't have anything bad to say about her, until now," said Duncan, who
has worked at the store off-and-on for about 10 years. "I would've never
suspected her to do something like this."

I feel so sad for Sandra Cantu's family. My sympathy is really with
them.
imho: The woman who killed her, Melissa Huckaby, really seemed to have
it all planned, down to the suitcase, and the false story she gave the
police about the suitcase...
.



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