BIRTH: March 8, 2001

DEATH: March 27, 2009

Sandra Renee Cantu ~ Age 8

Sandra, 8, was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered by a woman that lived in the same neighborhood as Sandra and her family. She was killed inside of a church.

She came home from school, kissed her mother, and left to play with a friend who lives a couple of homes away.

She was last seen, on a video from a recorder on her own house, walking home from a friends house. In the video you can see something caught her interest and she was never seen alive again.

2 weeks later Sandra was found stuffed inside a suitcase dumped in a dairy farm pond.

Melissa Huckaby, the daughter of a minister and the mother of a daughter, was charged her with the kidnapping, rape, and murder. The black suitcase that contained the body of Sandra belonged to Melissa, who reported to have left it in her driveway on the day Sandra went missing.

Sandra was strangled with a torn piece of cloth that had been knotted into “a noose.” The cause of death was homicidal asphyxiation. The prosecution feels that Melissa sexually assaulted Sandra with a rolling pin found inside the suitcase and contained the DNA of Sandra. Even though Melissa said she didn’t sexually assault the child.

According to the pathologist report, Sandra suffered a cut to her lip, an abrasion to her elbow and injuries to her genitals. Toxicology tests also found the drug alprazolam, used to treat anxiety disorders, in Sandra’s body. Bottles of alprazolam were found in Huckaby’s home and purse.

Melissa Huckaby plead guilty to first degree murder and kidnapping “with enhancements”. The sexual assault charge was dropped as part of the plea deal Melissa Huckaby made with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty. She was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.


Her life over at 8, slain girl is remembered

Melissa Huckaby’s Murder Motive

Clues to Why Melissa Huckaby Murdered an 8-Year-Old Girl

Sandra Cantu laid to rest

Sandra Cantu’s Accused Killer Returns to Court

California Prosecutors Want to Force Plea on Accused Sandra Cantu Killer

A Calculated Killing: The Case Against Melissa Huckaby

Melissa Huckaby Used Noose to Kill 8-Year-old Sandra Cantu

Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty to Sandra Cantu’s Murder

Melissa Huckaby Sentenced to Life, Asks For Forgiveness



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