The Grand Jury testimony has been released in the case of the murder of Sandra Cantu. Sandra disappeared from her family's home in Tracy, California. She was a 8 year old girl, last seen skipping home, which was caught on the surveillance tape, on March 27, 2009. She was wearing black leggings and a pink hello kitty t-shirt. At approximately 3:50 to 4:00 p.m. Sandra is gone. She was returning from playing with her new friends on their swings and went home to do her homework. The shadow on tape shows someone is motioning Sandra to come to them, she goes.
At 4:02 Melissa Huckaby is leaving the trailer park headed to the church. Prior to her leaving she calls Sandra's mom and ask if Miranda, Sandra's 11 year old sister, can come over to play and watch Melissa's daughter Madison. She leaves instructions she doesn't want Sandra there while gone. She turned Sandra away earlier but does ask Miranda where Sandra is. Miranda tells her she is with her new friends playing on their swings. Miranda watches as Melissa loads luggage into her car that are supposedly filled with arts and crafts for Sunday school at the family church. Melissa can not find her keys or cell phone, takes the spare and leaves for the church.
While leaving she must have come into contact with Sandra and picked her up. Did she tell her, the other girls were already at the church and she could come. She talked to her mom, its ok? Sandra gets into the car. (opinion)
Surveillance video shows Melissa's car leaving and at a couple intersection going to the church. She is at the church for approximately one and half hours. This is where the crime has taken place. Also Melissa takes time to decorate the class room and call her grandmother to tell her the luggage is now missing, she left it in the driveway. Grand mother confirms it is gone. At approximately 5:27 she leaves the church. Tracks are pointed out, by the gardener, to the police, of a car in the back of the church. Width of tracks match Melissa's car.
Melissa takes the car near the back entrance. Sandra is now in the suitcase. She parks in the back, goes in the rear entrance, rolls out the luggage. Puts it in the back of her car. drives off. (opinion)
At 5:27 her car is spotted again on a store front surveillance camera, going away from the church and trailer park. A man driving near 2 ponds sees a car on the dirt road between them. He identifies the car by the stickers and make of Melissa's. He stops and ask what she is doing. She tells him she had to pee. He leaves.
She finds the ponds. Good place to get rid of the evidence. Hauls the suitcase out of the back. Rolls it down the embankment, pushes it into the water. Shoot someone is coming. (opinion)
At 5:56 Melissa's car is spotted on surveillance camera again, heading back to the mobile home park. She is home by 6:30. Sandra's family notices she is missing. Everyone is searching. they even knock on Melissa's door. No one has seen her. Melissa reports to the police her luggage is stolen.
Police are looking for the missing girl. Vigils are taking place. People are worried. Melissa takes a walk. Heads to where some of the police and FBI are standing, its twilight out.
Melissa writes a note, telling where the suitcase and body can be found. Places it on the ground. Kicks it. Starts screaming and hyperventilating to get the attention of the police. They go over to her, she points out the note she finds. They collect it. Then start asking her questions. She tells them she suspects two strange men she thinks did it. They are questioned and determined not responsible.
Melissa is now the main suspect. Police get search warrants on her home and church and cars. While Melissa swallows a craft razor blade and admits herself into the hospital. The night she does this she also had Sandra's sister spending the night with Madison.
The police and FBI find enough evidence in house, church and car to arrest her. They take her in. She is scared and wants an attorney. they read her her rights , then she is escorted back to a holding cell. A policeman makes a statement to her, she cries and breaks. Goes back and is given her rights again and then she confesses. The policeman erases his recorder of his and Melissa's conversation. He is in trouble now.
The following is very descriptive but not as bad as the testimony of the harm done to Sandra.
WARNING STRONG AND GRUESOME :
Grand jury testimony tells of what Sandra endured at the hands of Melissa Huckaby.
A noose is found tied up in her hair, its a plaid green dish cloth. Torn in two and knotted. Not known whether used as gag or to cover eyes or strangle. Determined to be over the mouth area and used to choke her. Cloth is possibly soaked in rubbing alcohol, hair is entangled in knot.
Holes in scalp, both sides, left side deeper, appears to match meat forks found in kitchen at the church. Caused bleeding and bruising. It is a 3 prong fork used to lift out a roast.
Bruised back, caused by arching and trashing of body, or from someone sitting on top of her to control her jerking and trashing to get away.
Xanax found in her system by a low level drug test. Also in stomach cavity and brain tissue evidence of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) found.
Genitals area was so badly damaged the coroner couldn't distinguish what was what. So it took extensive work to find the extent of her injuries. The coroner believes Melissa used a Aluminum rolling pin to sexual assault her. She did it in such a rage that she destroyed Sandra's genital area causing her great harm and pain. Using a downward thrust towards her rectum. It had to be very painful and from the coroner's report, she was alive for all of it.
Also in the report the coroner noted: There was no appearance or any remains of a hymen. Meaning this child was possibly sexually assaulted in the past. This bothered the grand jury. They asked about it twice in the testimony.
After the assault, Melissa dresses Sandra. Carefully rolls up the bottom part her leggings. Puts Sandra's shoes in the suitcase first. Then she folds up Sandra in a fetal position, then places her into the suitcase. She cuts a rope from the blinds in the room. Ties the zippers of the suitcase Together. Then decorates the class room.
This women is a very evil person. Sounds like she was a serial killer in the making. She also drugged another little girl in the trailer park and her old boyfriend. She should have been off the street in the first case of that little girl. Then maybe none of this would have happened. (opinion)
Melissa Huckaby pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping on Monday, May 10, 2010. She was given life without parole to avoid the death penalty.
Her last statement of apology to the family was: " "I still cannot understand why I did what I did. This is a question I will struggle with for the rest of my life. She did not suffer, and I did not sexually molest her."