Prosecutors say they’re considering rape and molestation allegations against Melissa Huckaby. San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Robert Himmelblau said Monday that a homicide charge against Huckaby could include the special circumstances of rape with a foreign object, lewd and lacivious conduct with a child and murder in the course of a kidnapping.
Tracy, CA–We have been following the story on the disappearance of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, in the forums for weeks. For those of you unfamiliar with the case, here’s a bit of background. On March 27, Sandra went to a friend’s home to play…she never returned. Sandra’s body was found last Sunday, stuffed into a suitcase and thrown into an irrigation pond. Today, an arrest was made. Melissa Huckaby, 28, is being charged with the kidnapping and murder of Sandra Cantu.
Huckaby is the granddaughter of Lane Lawless, a pastor from a nearby church. She also serves the church as a Sunday school teacher. Lawless had been questioned by police and the church was searched extensively on Friday. In a phone interview with CBS Station KPIX on Friday, Huckaby stated that Sandra visited her home the day she disappeared. She also said she had left a suitcase in the driveway that day, and that it was missing.
Shortly after her telephone interview with the reporter, Huckaby drove to the police station where she was questioned until early this morning. At 2:25 this morning, Huckaby was loaded into a police cruiser and transported to San Joaquin Jail, where she was booked on charges of kidnapping and murder. ‘We have information that by the time (Sandra Cantu) was reported missing to us, she had already been murdered,’ Police Chief Janet Thiessen said. She would not release any other details or possible motive.
Though police have had prior contact with Huckaby, she does not have a record of violence. Huckaby was convicted for petty theft in 2006 in Los Angeles County and again recently in San Joaquin County. According to court records, the judge ordered her to be examined by physicians after Huckaby claimed she was not mentally competent to stand trial. It was determined that she was competent and she pleaded guilty.
An autopsy was conducted on Sandra’s body on Tuesday. Autopsy results are not expected for four to six weeks. As always, we will keep you updated as the case progresses.
To catch up on all of the details on this case, head on over to the article posted in the forums. Thanks, UnamusedCat.
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