Sandra Cantu Murder: Where Is Melissa Huckaby Today? – An American girl named Sandra Renee Cantu came to the nation’s attention on March 27, 2009, after she vanished from Tracy, California. Ten days later, a local irrigation pond’s watering hole held a suitcase containing her body. The kidnapping, rape, and murder of Cantu were allegedly committed by a local woman, 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby (born February 23, 1981), who was apprehended by police on April 10. Huckaby was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole in 2010 after admitting guilt to the kidnapping and murder of Cantu.
The latest season of See No Evil on Investigation Discovery will reveal the terrifying murder case. “Someone You Trust” is the name of the episode. Let’s investigate the specifics of the murder to learn more, shall we?
Sandra Cantu’s Cause of Death
At the time of her passing, Sandra Renee Cantu was eight years old. She resided with her mother, grandmother, and three older siblings in Tracy, California’s Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. She attended Melville S. Jacobson Elementary School and was in the second grade. After school on March 27, 2009, Cantu played at a friend’s house till she eventually went home at around 4:00 p.m. Later, she left her house, claiming that she was going to a friend’s house to play. At 7:53 p.m., the local police were notified that she was missing after she failed to show up for supper.
Police gathered video from a security camera placed close to the family home. National news outlets aired the video, which showed Cantu crossing the street in front of her house before vanishing from view. After unsuccessfully searching the mobile home community, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was contacted to help with the investigation. Police dogs, equestrian teams, all-terrain vehicles, and a helicopter from the California Highway Patrol were brought in to hunt for Cantu throughout the duration of the weekend of March 28–29. There was a $22,000 incentive for information leading to an arrest.
A local man who had been seen kissing Cantu on the lips at a nearby swimming pool when she was six years old was one of the first suspects. After being questioned, he was found to be not involved.
When an irrigation pond was being routinely drained on April 6, a suitcase containing Cantu’s body was discovered. Cantu had been beaten and sexually assaulted with a foreign object before being suffocated, according to an autopsy, and toxicology tests revealed that she had consumed Alprazolam.
Who was Sandra Cantu’s Killer?
A Caucasian male between the ages of 25 and 40 with a criminal history of sexual assault or child pornography was the profile that FBI experts attributed to the case. Police were suspicious of Melissa Huckaby, a 28-year-old Sunday school teacher who also resided in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park and whose daughter was a friend of Cantu, after discovering the victim’s body. Huckaby texted Cantu’s mother on the day of the disappearance with the following message: “Inform the police that today around 4 p.m. I had stuff taken. I’m not sure whether that matters or not “.
The following day, at a vigil for Cantu, Huckaby went up to the police and FBI representatives to let them know she had discovered a message on the ground. She was described as “very upset, weeping, and hyperventilating.” The message said: “Cantu was imprisoned in a suitcase. Thrown into the river on Whitehall Road and Bacchetti Road. Witness.” Huckaby had a history of mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, bipolar illness, and borderline personality disorder. Huckaby wasn’t a top suspect before the body was found. She was interviewed several times, but her actions were interpreted as attention-seeking rather than as a sign of complicity.
Melissa Huckaby kidnapped and murdered 8 year old Sandra Cantu in 2009. Why did she do it? Attention? Jealousy? Munchausen’s?
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After discovering the body inside the bag Huckaby had reported stolen, detectives started paying more attention to Huckaby’s actions. They noted, “the strange circumstance that a woman who reported losing a bag should be the one woman out of everyone in this building who might happen to locate a message indicating that the stolen suitcase was reportedly used to conceal the child’s death.” When a retired U.S. Marine and his wife reported seeing Huckaby and her SUV at the irrigation pond on their property at Bacchetti Road and Whitehall Road between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. on March 27, the police received another lead. They claimed to have seen Huckaby on television.
She told him, “I just had to pee pretty quick,” when he saw her, according to the witness, who described her as “distracted and hurried.” Police kept watching the video from the outside of Cantu’s house surveillance camera, which showed Cantu walking toward Huckaby’s house around 3:54 on March 27. Eight minutes later, the camera had captured Huckaby’s SUV traveling in the opposite direction. At about the same time, Huckaby called the trailer park management to report that a suitcase from the Eddie Bauer company had been taken from her trailer.
A surveillance camera outside the church’s parking lot, where Huckaby taught Sunday school, saw her leaving the building 85 minutes later. She was seen returning to the chapel thirty minutes later. She was discovered at the irrigation pond during these 30 minutes. Authorities claimed that after searching the church, FBI investigators removed a rolling pin from the kitchen that they claimed had a “bloody stain” and a damaged handle. Cantu’s DNA was detected in the rolling pin.
Where Is Melissa Huckaby Today?
Huckaby was detained and accused of Cantu’s murder on April 10, 2009. Additional accusations against her for the druggings of a 7-year-old child and a 37-year-old man were later dropped as part of a plea agreement in which Huckaby admitted to the first-degree murder and kidnapping of Cantu in exchange for not being sentenced to death. Huckaby was given a life sentence without the chance of release. Huckaby remarked at her sentencing, “I still don’t know why I acted the way I did. I’ll be wrestling with this issue for the rest of my life.” The prosecutor conjectured that she may have slain Cantu to gain attention. She is still a prisoner at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla.