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Body of Missing Girl Found in Suitcase

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It's a tragic end to a story that has gripped the nation.

suitcaseremains270.jpg

This breaks our hearts. The Associated Press reports that the remains of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu were found Monday in a suitcase recovered from a pond a couple of miles from where she was last seen more than a week ago.

Tracy Police Chief Janet Thiessen said that farmworkers draining the irrigation pond found the suitcase containing Sandra Cantu's body.

Sandra was wearing a pink "Hello Kitty" T-shirt and black leggings -- the same clothes she wore when last seen on March 27.

An autopsy is planned to determine the cause of death.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go to Sandra's family and friends," Thiessen said. "We will determine the person or persons responsible for this reprehensible act, and we will bring them to justice."

How can parents help prevent child abduction? Here are some tips courtesy of the Illinois State Police:

- Don't leave kids outside alone.
Individuals who prey on children wait for an opportunity when the child is alone. Children should not be outside their home by themselves, even for short periods of time. They should walk to and from school and bus stops in groups. Working together with other families in your neighborhood to develop a formal plan for kids to walk together is a good idea. Parents are encouraged to join or organize a Neighborhood Watch program in their community.

- Tell children to stay away from cars.
A car or other vehicle is often the means by which the abductor removes the child from the neighborhood. Children should never approach a vehicle unless they are absolutely sure they know the occupants. Abductors entice children to walk near their vehicles and then pull them inside. If children routinely see the same car parked (or following them) on their normal walking routes (to and from school, etc.) they should report it to trusted adults immediately.

- Role play with your kids.
Act like a stranger and see how your children react. Teach them the proper way to respond. Kids should:
* Run away.
* Yell loudly.
* Say exactly what is happening

Examples:
- "Help, this is not my Dad."
- "Help, this is not my Mom."
- "Help, I'm being kidnapped."
- "Help, call the police."

If children just scream, people may think they are only throwing a temper tantrum. The more you practice, the better your children will be at responding to difficult situations.

This is every parent's worst nightmare. We hope Sandra Cantu's killer is found and convicted to the fullest extent of the law.



next: Liquid Calories a Bigger Diet-buster than Food
44 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nichol April 7, 2009, 10:59 AM

I just don’t understand people hurting anyone, especially kids. From the Caylee case, to the millions of other cases, and now this My sympathies to the family. I hope they get whoever did this to this innocent child!

sunshine April 7, 2009, 11:55 AM

I saw the video right before she was taken with her happy and skipping and my stomache turned. I am deeply sadened as think most are to hear that she was found dead. Kids are not safe anymore to run around the neighborhood by themselves. It is sad but true.

007 April 7, 2009, 12:03 PM

You’re right, ‘sunshine’…. Things are very different now… I was at the bank the other day and a woman was there with her 2 kids. The little girl, about 5yr, voiced that she needed to go to the restroom. The mom told her her brother, about 7yrs, to take his sister next door to use the restroom at a restaurant. Even though she was with her brother, any adult could have take power over one or both of them in a twinkling of an eye.

mom of three April 7, 2009, 12:57 PM

I am so angry with this and all other cases involving these innocent children. Why is it happening so much? Makes me sick what these beautiful kids last moments must be like. These pedofiles need to be off the street and put to death. Pedofiles are NOT capable of being rehabilitated. We all know this now it’s time for the law to step up and do the right thing. NEVER LET THEM OUT TO DO THIS TO OTHER CHILDREN.

Leeza April 7, 2009, 1:02 PM

It’s so sad that our children aren’t even safe to run around and play in their neighborhoods. Our society has deeply declined because of the prevalance of drug and alcohol abuse, the breakdown of the family due to divorce and Father abandonment, single Mothers doing the best they can even though their best isn’t enough,children being left in the care of adults that sexually abuse them, because they themselves were sexually abused through their childhoods.I hope and pray that this and other tragedies involving children gives more clarity to each parent’s attitude toward their own child’s daily routine.Sometimes what parents percieve as safe (like leaving them home alone for just an hour,walking to the bus stop or neighborhood friend’s house ALONE, etc. is now a high risk for each and every child regardless of the pressure your child may put on you to just let them go!Children need to learn as a very young age now that they must always be accompanied by an adult or mature older child. Scare them if you have to, with what can happen! It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Gigohead  April 7, 2009, 1:08 PM

I was ill to my stomach this morning watching this news unfold. I can’t get over the image of her skipping on the tape and gone the next. My God. Please why did this happen! I can’t stop to think what if that was my little girl. I don’t ever let her out of my sight. I pray for this animal’s capture so that this family can have at least that closure and that this little angel may have protected another little girl.

kris April 7, 2009, 2:17 PM

I tell my 6 year old on a daily basis to never be anywhere that I can’t see him or physically touch him if something happens. I tell him some people who are bad will take you away from mommie and daddy and maybe never bring you back, you would be surprised at how quickly he comes back to me and holds my hand. It not so much as scaring him its just telling the truth. He knows strangers and moving cars are a danger to a littl eguy like him and he knows to always look for a policeman if something happens. I have told him this since the age of 2 and we practice it on a daily basis when we go out. I may have to remind him but he gets the picture quickly. I’m not trying to point the finger in such (because that is just plain ill mannered and counterproductive) a horrible tragedy but now even more than ever we should not let our kids out of our sites no matter what.

Leslie April 7, 2009, 3:33 PM

Living In A World Of Pain, And Hurt, My Sympathies. Whomever Touged This Girl Should Be Condemned To death Row. (Unfortunately The Most We Can DO Is Life). I Believe That They Will Find The Killer Simply From The Suitcase, And Justice Will Be Served. I’m A Sixteen Year Old Girl, And I Babysit Little Girls Sandra’s Age, If I Lost One Of Them I Would Definitely Feel Their Pain. My Condolences To The Family Of Sandra, Justice Will BE Served, I Promise.

Anonymous April 7, 2009, 4:27 PM

People now days dont seem to care about anything or any one but them self’s. why on earth would someone want to hurt a child? makes me sick to see/read about any case that ends up with a child found dead. this is just to sad! the people out there that do this to kids need to be put away for good! i am a mother of 2 and the thought of anything bad happening to them makes me sick. i remember when i way little i ran around without a fear and walked my way around town alone. now days its like kids can not even play out in there front yard. my prayers go out to the family and friends of this little girl.

Heather Fucci April 7, 2009, 6:32 PM

The thought of my child or any child for that matter being there one minute and missing the next is very unnerving…
My sympathies go out to the family

cassie April 7, 2009, 10:12 PM

Rest in peace Sandra we love you but you are with lord and you are an angel up in HEAVEN!

CASSIE April 7, 2009, 10:23 PM

OH Sandra rest in peace with lord right beside you. your a angel now and a memory to Tacy!It must be fun in heaven but sad not next to your parents,even i dont know you i love you very much like if you were my sister.I’ll never forget you SANDRA ILL NEVER!!!!!!!

CASSIE April 7, 2009, 10:33 PM

OH Sandra rest in peace with lord right beside you. your a angel now and a memory to Tacy!It must be fun in heaven but sad not next to your parents,even i dont know you i love you very much like if you were my sister.I’ll never forget you SANDRA ILL NEVER!!!!!!!
I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!
- CASSIE
Posted 04/07/09 10:23 PM

AppalledAtKaryn April 8, 2009, 12:18 AM

This is what I have been trying to tell people all this time, but a few people liked to call me “paranoid”, and “overbearing”, when I posted a comment to one short article on here a while ago where “Karyn” and her neighbor knew of a 3 year old who roams the neighborhood. So is this NOW going to change your mind, now that the police department ALSO state that you should “NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE OUTSIDE”.? this is just very obvious to me, and maybe now people like “former walkey” will realize that these days are different. We can no longer just trust that our kids will be ok alone outside, or even hope that some other responsible adult/parent will naturally keep an eye out for the kids left alone outside. R.I.P sandra. I hope your death was not in vain.

steve j April 10, 2009, 10:25 AM

this is as bad as it gets!!! i feel so sorry for her and her family…every parent should never forget that we live among these monsters!!!

Mom of 2 April 14, 2009, 11:15 AM

Dear Sandra,
Rest in peace!

RMX April 14, 2009, 5:44 PM

‘Heard a woman did this.
Uhm…the suitcase strikes me as being much akin to Casey putting Caylee in a Laundry Bag.
Maybe we are seeing a pattern here?

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