Friday, April 10, 2009


Police guard entrance of the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park where Sandra Cantu lived. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press

Tracy, California: Police found Sandra Cantu's body in an Eddie Bauer suitcase. They have not released a description of the suitcase.

Tracy Woman Claims Someone Stole Her Luggage
April 10, 2009

TRACY, Calif. -- A Tracy woman who lives in the mobile home park where eight-year-old Sandra Cantu lived claimed Friday she had a large, dark suitcase stolen the day the young girl disappeared.

Melissa Huckaby, 28-year-old, told the Tracy Press and sources told KTVU that someone stole her waterproof, charcoal-trimmed Eddie Bauer suitcase from the park two weeks ago. She said she had inadvertently left the suitcase in her driveway and it was taken from there.

She had filled with items to decorate a classroom where she teaches Sunday school at her grandfather’s church, but forgot her keys and cell phone. Huckaby went into the home to retrieve them and then drove off without the bag.

Cantu’s body was found Monday stuffed in a large, dark colored suitcase submerged in a Tracy irrigation pond.

“It’s not my grandfather’s,” Huckaby told the paper of the missing suitcase. “It’s mine and someone took it.”

At an afternnon news conference, Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said he did not have any information about the kind of suitcase in which the girl's body was found.

She also admitted that Cantu had come over to her mobile home the day the girl disappeared to play with Huckaby’s daughter. Huckaby said she told Cantu that her daughter had to clean her room and the little girl left to go to another unnamed friend’s home.

Huckaby said police had interviewed her at the hospital earlier this week, but at Friday's press conference Sheneman would not confirm that the woman had been interviewed. She spent several days in the intensive care unit being treated for what she said was “internal bleeding.”

Local investigators and FBI technicians had seized Huckaby’s Kia SUV earlier in the week and meticulously searched it. Evidence teams had also searched the grounds of the church where her grandfather, Lane Lawless, is the pastor.


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