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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.


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

- "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
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