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Why Would a Mother Kill Sandra Cantu?

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Over the weekend, Melissa Huckaby was charged with kidnapping and murder in the death of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Why?

sandra cantu and killer melissa huckaby

Melissa Huckaby and her 5-year-old daughter Madison live in the same mobile home park as Sandra Cantu's family. Huckaby is the pastor's granddaughter, and she taught Sunday school at the church. By all accounts, Melissa's daughter and Sandra were close friends, and played together frequently.

Then Sandra went missing. Her body was found last Monday, stuffed into a suitcase and submerged in a pond.

Police say that suitcase belongs to Melissa Huckaby. She had originally said the suitcase was hers, but that it had been stolen. She had also said that Sandra had come to her house the day she went missing, but Huckaby would not allow her daughter to play because she wanted her daughter to pick up her toys. Inconsistencies in her stories led to her arrest. She was arrested late Friday, and faces kidnapping and murder charges.

Police say they don't have a motive ... yet. CBS News reported Sunday that police believe Sandra was killed in the church.

A family member of Melissa's spoke to CNN. "We're very shocked," she said. "It's very out of character for Melissa. We love her dearly. She's a fantastic mother, very loving. ... This is a very difficult time for us and it's very difficult to express to you right now how we're feeling."

Huckaby was raised in Orange County and graduated from Brea Olinda High School in 1999, according to the Contra Costa Times. She moved to Tracy seven or eight months ago to help her grandparents, then decided to stay and enroll her daughter in kindergarten, family members said. Her father said Huckaby's only known emotional issues stem from a divorce.

According to the FBI, it's statistically unusual for a woman to be involved in anything like this. When asked what people should learn from the fact that a woman is suspected in the slaying, Tracy police spokesman Sgt. Tony Sheneman said, "You have to be 100 percent aware of who your children are talking to."

Why do you think Melissa Huckaby might have killed Sandra Cantu?

See Also:

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109 comments so far | Post a comment now
omegaman April 14, 2009, 11:07 AM

…I’ve read the story, listened to the details gathered on this case up to this point and something is telling me…this woman didn’t kill this girl. Something is telling me that she might have a boyfriend that committed the murder and she knows all about this crime. Her criminal background does not indicate a profile of her being a child predator…if she did commit this act, I believe she didn’t do it alone…there is a man in this somewhere and is she giving him up?…is the real question. I’m curious to see what pans out…my prayers go out for little Sandra and her family…

BRENDA April 14, 2009, 11:29 AM


Cassandra April 14, 2009, 11:54 AM

Yes it can be hard to read people and you really never know what people are capable of, but I don’t think the answer is locking your children up and hiding them from the world. For one thing at some point your children are going to have to be away from you. By the time they are five they are in school, and I think we have all heard stories about kids being abducted from school or teachers who turn out to be child molesters. What are you going to do sit outside their classroom all day waiting and watching. You do that and people are sure to think you are the psycho. Another thing is that children need time away from parents and interaction with others to become socialized and learn how to behave away from their parents. Otherwise your child turns 18 and goes out on their own with no socialization skills. I think that the best thing you can do to protect your children from things like this happening is to talk to them and warn them about strangers and what to do if anyone tries to see or touch their privates and to talk to them about people they are spending time with.

Ry April 14, 2009, 12:18 PM

What happened to this little girl saddens me in such a way, it makes me physically nauseous. I have children, and even though it is my divine, animal instinct to keep my children locked up and try to keep them from the evil people of the world, it’s not that easy. This entire ordeal is sad. I just think the press needs to let the detectives do their job… Even though we are all hoping this woman gets what she deserves, who the hell are WE to sit here and say, “WE have the right to know this… or that…”? We don’t have that right. Only that family. They (the police and the family) need to find out everything to put this crazy away for GOOD, and WE just need to pray for the family and all the other innocent children out there.

Minister R S Howell April 14, 2009, 2:03 PM

I believe that God is frowning on this type of situation because first its inhumane and secondly just down right uncalled for. People have become so disassociated with not only their moral values but Spirituality as a whole. No one’s giving God his righteous Glory so that’s why man and in this case WOMAN if I can even say she is, just does what ever their sick carnal mind tells them. The way to put a stop to this malice is to make it mandatory that Prayer be put back into schools…Sunday school teacher be evaluated on not just their smile but who they really are, and stop Bickering so much about Obama he just another man like you and me that happen to be a black President so what…..Im Black but if a black or white Green President wasn’t for Real Change their skin wouldnt even matter. Lets learn how to Love Again or Start since it seems we never have.

Minister Rafael S. Howell….God Bless Little Sandra Kantu’s Family and God Bless America…..

DD April 14, 2009, 3:44 PM

This story just doesn’t add up. I would not be surprise if one of the men in that family was responsible for the crime. I would point out that Ms. Huckaby is presumed innocent until proven guilty. I truly wonder if she is covering for someone. Either way, her own daughter clearly is/was not safe in that house.

Holly in Az April 14, 2009, 4:02 PM

Women don’t just molest kids out of nowhere… because her family is church going, she probably has been a closet lesbian forever, or was molested herself by someone in her family, she probably has been molesting her own daughter. They think shes a loving mother because she is obviously not going to let her lesbian tendencies or molesting kids be known by anyone, especially when they are super religious and not to mention molesting kids is super evil. She killed the girl because she didnt want the girl to tell anyone about getting molested, when her own daughter has been probably programmed to keep her mouth shut about getting constantly raped by her own mom.

Nicole April 14, 2009, 4:09 PM

I agree 100% with what Carol wrote you cannot live in fear and it is highly unfair to project that fear onto your children. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t protect your children and take precautions. This world has some terrible individuals out there that perform horrible crimes but we should not let them keep us in fear. Melissa Huckaby is inhumane and I believe the police have done their job here. How could someone perform such heinous acts on a beautiful and innocent child? It is so hard for us to imagine that a mother herself of a young child could do this but she did and she will pay the price for what she did! To the family and friends of Sandra Cantu my thoughts and prayers are with you.

annonymousprincess April 14, 2009, 4:40 PM

this is sick!! she needs to be locked up in jail for ever!! no matter if she is mental or not, she needs to be punished!!

anne April 14, 2009, 5:29 PM

I would be very inquisitive and hope the poloce investigate thoroughly all possibilities, regarding Melissa’s father, uncle and grandfather and the church. Perhaps there was a lot of ‘no good’ going on behind closed doors and Melissa could very well be a victim herself of sexual abuse,incest and many other scenarios. There is never a simple, one word reason for these types of crimes…NEVER!

Anonymous April 14, 2009, 6:35 PM

How can one be a sunday school teacher, teaching gods ways to children then turn around and murder a child in church. Its a shame in the end sandra had to be the teacher. god bless you sandra

Cindy April 14, 2009, 7:26 PM

Something about this story doesn’t sound right. Mother, Sunday School teacher,very out of character for her ( as family and friends have said) murderer, rapist…. it just doesn’t add up.

Ed Misch April 14, 2009, 7:44 PM

I don’t like to judge or conclude she is the one yet. Everyone has a past but it doesn’t make you do such things. Finding a suitcase that belongs to melissa does not yet add up she is the killer. Like if a stolen gun is used in a crime does not necessarily make the original owner the criminal. What if the killer waited in your home and used a bag in your house to hide the victim,what would you do? Someone like melissa if charged by the police would act so afraid and be unstable knowing what the police and the prosecution can do to convict you and be found guilty even though you are 100% innocent. It had happened many times and it is too late before an innocent can be found not guilty. Cause it will destroy part of your life scarred forever.The killer is still out there

My2Cents April 14, 2009, 8:09 PM

Hopefully she does not get some power hot-shot attorney that will make up some lame excuse (aka reasonable doubt) why this all happened if she truly committed this heinous crime. I must say that my hat goes off to the Tracy Police Department, FBI, and all the other agencies involved with keeping everything under wraps. The video clip we see is just a portion of what probably is there (There is more but we’ll get more as the trial goes). Don’t be surprised if this goes on for at least a year or two. My concern now is for Huckaby’s daughter. How do you explain to a child that mommy is the alleged murderer of your best friend? There are SO many places to get help. I just don’t understand.
She should have gone somewhere. We pay taxes for this sort of thing right?

Anonymous2 April 14, 2009, 8:15 PM

The police has not done their best yet, lets wait for some more evidences as they come. Part of the problem is as you see in a video, no presence of an adult! where are the parents or any responsible persons? She was alone! I had kids before, but never did we let them out alone with no one to guard them. I even get suspicious when I notice someone staring at any kids inside a car, house or anywhere, cause you wont know what evil lurks inside mind. Charge the parents with negligence too. And for the media, stop telling stories that aren’t true and not to be biased, cause even an atheist can do the same thing.

2morecents April 14, 2009, 8:39 PM

I strongly believe she is covering for someone. Any normal person would scream “I did not do this” she says nothing, isnt that strange? Why would she not say anything unless like a great many of you have already pointed out, it was someone she would give herself up for. Now who would that be grandfather? Not a boyfriend no woman would do that and everyone would know right away. Unless she did do the crime, but thats way strange. Im glued to the story to find out what the hell happened.

ole tina April 14, 2009, 8:47 PM

Mentally unstable or not. Really didn’t give her the RIGHT to kill an innocent beautiful child. I have a 6 year old daughter, and reading the story really got me so paralyzed and so damn emotional. i kept asking myself, what did pretty miss Sandra did to Evil Huckabone to deserve this. Oh lord, stories like this made me sickening in the stomach. If I was a neighboring tenant to Ms Evil Huckabone, I would never suspect it. NEVER!! but why? why? Ms Huckee whatever her name is. She does NOT deserve to live to see any daylight God have given us. “SHE DESERVES TO BE SIT IN THAT CHAMBER TO PAY FOR WHAT SHE DID” eye for an eye… and people like this need to be punished.

Anonymous April 14, 2009, 11:29 PM

No motive-just a horrendous crime because of a severe mental break caused by Prozac.

Theresa April 15, 2009, 3:50 AM

I’m disturbed that everyone is assuming that Huckaby is guilty before she has gone to trial. This whole story doesn’t add up. There doesn’t seem to be any motive and very little evidence. I’m betting the murderer was someone else - maybe a male relative.

anonymous April 15, 2009, 11:07 AM

What I would like to know is #1 is Melissa’s daughter an only child?
How old is her daughter?
Is it possible the daughter had something to do with it so Melissa tried to cover it up and stage a “rape” and dump the body? Thinking they wouldn’t trace it back to her? Or did Melissa have any boyfriends that may have been there? I just don’t know, clearly she needs to be locked up for this horrible crime. Poor little girl. It is so sad. Something tells me in my gut, that there is a whole lot more to this story than we think.

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