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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?

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109 comments so far | Post a comment now
amy April 15, 2009, 1:00 PM

i dont think she did it.

Mayree April 15, 2009, 2:21 PM

I think that sometimes mothers are jealous of other’s children’s attributes and there may have been something very appealing about Sandra that outshone her own child. She was robbing this child of her youth, beauty, and life. This is an evil act; not an act of maladjustment or substance abuse.

Teaching Sunday School many times is nothing but telling stories. Sunday School teachers do not necessarily help or explain spiritual principles. Some women like it for the way they appear to others and one might be surprised at who uses church as a public cover. I mean, even the Anthonys did the attending church thing and Casey did the “reading the Bible” thing. Heck, I come from a religious family and my mother told me when she was a little girl that every time her mother wanted her to do housework, she would start reading the Bible!

Marti April 15, 2009, 4:15 PM

So help me GOD if anyone ever touches or harms my children in any way they will not live to give me a reason why they did it. I will goto jail for the rest of my life for taking their life if that is what it takes. With the way the justice system is in this country today I don’t trust anyone to get it right. I would handle it myself. Some of you may think I am wrong but that is the way I feel!! Eye for an Eye!!

mary April 15, 2009, 7:09 PM

Even if she did it, which is doubtful, someone abused her first, she has a mental illness or had a reaction to a medication. Do we still not understand the cycle of abuse, or the brain damage that occurs in some people from birth. Can we leave the world of black and white behind and consider the large grey area that is life. Even Hitler is now being seen as mentally ill. As a jew I accept this. More importantly he wooed a whole country, so a Sunday School teacher or Pastor could fool a few people too. Let’s consider Dexter or any other sociopath. (still brain damage)

No matter how one looks at it more information is needed, as something still seems fishy. Those tears seemed real and I have to wonder. Let the police do their job and hopefully if she is covering for someone else it will come out.



Thanita April 15, 2009, 7:44 PM

Honestly, I’d checkout Melissa Huckabee’s Grandfather (the Pastor) at the church she teaches Sunday school at. I just have this hunch that he may have something to do with it.

Statistics say that a large percentage of the female sexual predator assaults with a partner rather than alone. Really hope the law enforcements look at EVERYTHING.

Poor Sandra and her family. This should never have happened. I fear for kids because you never know who or where the crazies are! Ugh.

dove1 April 16, 2009, 12:52 AM

VA

If your church allowed a convicted sex offender to get near enough to your child to molest your child, you can (and I believe should) sue the church. To some this may sound harsh, but that is your legal remedy. Others would say hangin’s too good and I couldn’t disagree with that, but that is not a legal remedy. I believe the church has a duty of care to its members and this certainly sounds like they are being negligent if not willfully complicit in allowing children to be actually and potentially harmed. I know our church had a sex offender thrown out because he had broken a covenant with the church regarding his terms of involvement with the church (ie, no involvement at all with children, not to be implicity or explicity in leadership role, etc). It was a difficult process for the church, but our pastor is a hero and she did the right thing. You should look into this because something is not right. And you should change churches. Our church would love to have you and we do not house known sex offenders or let them give our kids rides anywhere. Be vigilent friends- wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. Bottom line: never let anyone make you, the parent, feel uncomfortable about where your child is - you are the parent. I would be gone from that church in a heartbeat.

Church should be safe

dove1 April 16, 2009, 12:58 AM

After my last post, I forgot to mention that sweet little Sandra’s family should sue the pants off the pastor for allowing their niece, who had been accused of drugging children in the past?!? near children, if that is true. Sounds like a breach of a duty of care to me if they were on notice that the women was abusing children.

Church should be safe.

Lorena April 16, 2009, 10:02 AM

i love how they didnt post my last comment…

sbarcza April 16, 2009, 11:21 AM

VA, a convicted child molester involved in children’s ministry at your church? RUN LIKE THE WIND!!!! I’m a Christian too, and what they are doing is wrong. It says, you’ll know them by their fruits. These are some bad fruits!!!
best wishes to you,
SB

Anonymous April 16, 2009, 3:22 PM

Something is not right with this story. I’m curious to see if there was any DNA discovered on sandra or on the inside of the suitcase and also any mental evaluation that has been done since she has been in custody.

xizzi April 16, 2009, 7:06 PM

I would definately think that something happened at the church, maybe the grandfather? Melissa walked in and found Sandra with the grandfather, or found her dead and knew what happened. She tried to cover it up by sodomozing the child and stuffing her into a suitcase to make it look like a predator in the area was responsible. I just don’t see this gruesome murder in her character, plus she is a woman, what woman would do such a thing!

xizzi April 16, 2009, 7:08 PM

She just couldn’t have done it

Anonymous April 16, 2009, 9:34 PM

If she was that mentally unstable she woulda raped and killed her own daughter (like yates)….therefore i think she wasnt unstable…

Anonymous April 17, 2009, 12:31 AM

amy and xizzi you sound like two idiots camping together on the banks of the river Nile,wishing for reality to go away.Brick walls like you keep blocking the road to the answer the rest of us are looking for,WHY and HOW.As if the other stories before this one aren’t real enough,now we have people like you two trying to put the genie back in the bottle.

Jessica April 17, 2009, 3:32 AM

No one seems to really realize how dangerous this world is. I always see kids walking down the street by themselves and I mean little ones like 8 and 9 year olds. I unfortunaely no how evil human kind is. I have a 9 yr old daughter and she is not allowed to spend nights at friends and even if she goes over their house I have to know the parents extremely well myself. It makes me sick all these parents that just drop there kids off for “birthday” parties and sleepovers without knowing anything about the parents besides that its thier childs friend! Over protective maybe I am but I was molested by my father and brother in law when I was a child and at the age of 18 was violently attacked and raped. I personally know the worse side of humanity and will never take that chance with my daughter. Plase everyone realize that sometimes even those you trustthe most are the most dangerous! Dont take chances. Always ask your child those, “has this ever been done questions” even know its uncomfortable to you. It might save your baby’s life.

ANYNOMIS >=[ April 17, 2009, 4:11 PM

i just can belive that crazy women would do such a terrible t hing i hope she rotes in prison i hate her =[
rip sandra my prayers go out for her family..am sorry you guys are going threw this……..=[rip gurl

sharron April 17, 2009, 7:32 PM

There is no excuse for what this woman did. It’s over and done! Now she needs to pay.

Sandy cross April 17, 2009, 9:51 PM

I still the grandparants knew somthing or had somthing to do with the murder. The grandmother said it’s terrible that someone took sandra and abused and murdered her how did grandma know she was abused no one had been told that yet just a question I have god bless sandra her family and friends

Lily April 18, 2009, 12:38 AM

It seems to me Melissa Huckabee is ‘medicated’, and appears to be a mentally disturbed woman. I think the grandfather ‘Pastor’ was either involved somehow, or he is the one who abused Melissa when SHE was a child…. He looks like a very seedy character..

ceg April 21, 2009, 3:56 PM

i dont understand why someone would kill a 8 year old little girl. i dont know why she would kidnap, molest, and kill her five year old daughters friend. i think that she should get 25/50 years to life in prison. i am 17 and i have a 7 year old little sister, if she did that to my sister id kill her


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