Monday, April 6, 2009

UPDATES: MISSING - Sandra Cantu body found - container found near Sugar Cut slough contained young girl

Breaking News update: A Sunday school teacher was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found in a suitcase in an irrigation pond.
Huckaby had previously told The Tracy Press that Sandra visited her home on the day of her disappearance to play with her 5-year-old daughter. But Huckaby said she'd turned Sandra away because her daughter needed to pick up her toys and Sandra went to another friend's home. Huckaby also said she had left her suitcase in the driveway that day, and that it was missing.

Huckaby is a granddaughter of Pastor Clifford Lawless, whose Clover Road Baptist Church was the subject of a police search. Huckaby taught Sunday school at the church and lived with Lawless in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park that also was Sandra's home.

Lawless did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Saturday.

Huckaby was scheduled to appear in court on April 17 to check in with a county mental health program as part of a three-year probation sentence for a petty theft she pleaded no contest to. In an interview with the newspaper on Friday, Huckaby said someone else by the same name was facing charges for the attempted November theft from Target.

All further updates at:

Breaking News: Sunday school teacher was arrested, suspicion of killing Sandra Cantu


Sandra Cantu dead - body found in pond

Sandra Cantu dead - body found in pondSandra Cantu 8 years young - Rest in peace

Police confirmed Monday night that the body of a missing Tracy girl was found inside a large black suitcase submerged in a farm pond just two miles from where the child was last seen 11 days ago
Law enforcement investigators examine the crime scene

sandra_memorial2__04_11_09

Memorial services for a slain Tracy girl are set for next week, police announced today.

tracypress.com

The family of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu plans to hold private and public services. The public one will take place at 1 p.m. April 16 at West High School, 1775 W. Lowell Road, in Tracy. It’ll be held inside the school’s gym with overflow in the cafeteria, said Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman, adding that there should be enough space for about 2,500 people.

Update: Hunt for the killer - New Man tied to the investigation.

Sandra Cantu Case:NEW DEVELOPMENTS

Update: 04-09-09 PM - Tracy, CA- The Hunt for Sandra Cantu’s killer or killers is yielding several new breaking developments.

As brought to you exclusively by Blink on Crime; local reporters and members of the Orchard Estates Community want to know what Fred Williams knows about the luggage Sandra was found in Monday.

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Fred Williams

Williams, 51, is a member and apparent care taker at the Clover Baptist Church where Police and FBI have recently completed their search and have recovered among other bags of evidence, a pair of work gloves in a crawlspace underneath the structure. Williams met Pastor Lawless at the Church following it’s release by the Crime Scene Investigation Team yesterday, and opened the door for Lawless with his key.

churchfred2-1

In prior statements, Williams indicated the luggage Sandra was found in was stolen on it’s way to the church’s rummage sale. Sgt. Tony Sheneman of the Tracy police Department confirmed to Blink on Crime there have never been any reports to police of stolen luggage. It would seem that is not the only thing Mr. Williams lied about. There was never any rummage sale planned at the church.

Source: Blinkoncrime.com - Link

Update: 04-07-09 AM - Note found - "From Sandra, to my killer."

Crime Scene Investigation units returned to a mobile home park that 8-year-old Sandra Cantu once called home.

CSI was called out this morning to recover a note left by a tree that reportedly read "From Sandra, to my killer." It's unclear what, if anything else, the note may have read.

Sandra Cantu had been missing since March 27th. The 8-year-old's body was recovered in a piece of luggage on April 6th.
Source: FOX40 - Link

Update: Hunt for the killer - Four men in the park have so far been tied to the investigation.

Update: 04-07-09 AM - Lawless lives in the mobile home park with his wife, Connie Lawless, according to city property records. He has owned the home since the mid-1990s.Clover Baptist Church, and the Pastor of Church seem to be under very close Law Enforcement scrutiny this morning in the Sandra Cantu homicide investigation. Church, outbuildings and his home next door currently being searched.

Crime scene: Crime scene tape was used to cordon off the surrounding area of the Church and Police indicated they were focusing their efforts on a shed on the grounds

Clifford Lane Lawless of the Clover Road Baptist Church lives in Space 57 at Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, Lawless lives in the mobile home park with his wife, Connie Lawless, according to city property records. He has owned the home since the mid-1990s.,Lawless has no criminal history and no civil lawsuits against him in San Joaquin County, court records show. The only property he owns in San Joaquin County is his mobile home.

A bio on his church’s Web site says Lawless converted to Christianity 49 years ago in Washington state and was ordained as a pastor 11 years later.

He received a degree in theology from the Baptist Theological Seminary of Hayward and the Alisal Baptist Institute of Salinas, according to the Web site. He has led churches in Southern California and in Mountain View and Eureka.

He was appointed pastor of the Baptist church in Tracy in 1981. He married his wife in 1960 in Modesto, the Web site continues. They have three grown children together — Brian, Brett and Joni, “who are all involved in God’s work” — and nine grandchildren.
Info source: Tracy Press - Link

Update: 04-07-09 AM - Tracy Sgt. Tony Sheneman said this morning that a man they previously questioned during the initial investigation is a suspect but said no one has been detained or arrested.

"We still are looking for the perpetrator," Sheneman said.

  • Frank Wohler is a 60-year-old martial arts instructor who said he kissed Sandra on the lips at the park’s swimming pool two years ago, Frank WohlerMr. Wohler Lives in Sandra's neighborhood and has admitted she helped him with his gardening and admitted to kissing her on the lips at the community swimming pool 2 years ago.
    Police have searched his home and office, removing CDs containing pictures, a cell phone, and other items he would not identify
    He has been interviewed by police and had is vehicle towed Monday and returned Thursday..

  • Christian Sinclair, 49, who’s depicted in court records as abusive and alcoholic was arrested March 30 for interfering with police as they searched his home, Sinclair’s friend, David Slayter, 44, was then taken to the police station for questioning last week as the FBI and Stockton and Tracy police searched his home and took out several items

  • Clifford Lane Lawless of the Clover Road Baptist Church lives in Space 57 at Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, Lawless lives in the mobile home park with his wife, Connie Lawless, according to city property records. He has owned the home since the mid-1990s.

    Clover Baptist Church, and the Pastor of Church seem to be under very close Law Enforcement scrutiny this morning in the Sandra Cantu homicide investigation.

  • Friday, David Slayter, 44, Married with one child a son and wife Debra previously seen at the vigils openly crying, got in a car with police for an interview as they searched his home and towed his two vehicles, Slayter, whose home and cars were searched on Friday admitted to police that missing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu had frequently visited him inside his home, though police made a point to say he was neither detained nor arrested.

Tracy Police confirmed this morning that they are searching a church in Tracy today for evidence in the slaying of Sandra Cantu.

Police late last night secured and sealed Clover Baptist Church, an older single-story building not far from Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, where 8-year-old Sandra Cantu was last seen alive.

An autopsy is currently being conducted to determine how Sandra died.

Investigators also searched another residence in the park last night.

Update: 11:45 - agents pulled up to search the Clover Road Baptist Church Missionary Independent at 1100 W. Clover Road.
Update: 10:20 p.m - 16 Tracy police and FBI vehicles, including a crime lab, were seen entering the mobile home park, in preparation to serve search warrants at an undisclosed location inside. A caravan of FBI agents pulled into the mobile home park around 10:20 p.m. tonight, though no announcements of an arrest or a new search was made by press time.

The search brings to five the number of homes that have been searched in the mobile home park, and at least four cars have been towed from there since search warrants were first obtained March 30, police said.

Daniel Cantu, left, speaks with Tracy Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman near as a container is examined along a rural road off Tracy Boulevard in Tracy, Calif

Update: 10:15 04-06-09 - Tonight after Tracy Police announced Body discovery a large contingent of law enforcement personnel has re-converged on the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. Many citizens have gathered at the entrance which is blocked by City of Tracy police department. Residents are not being allowed to enter or leave.

TRACY - 04-06-09 9:00 PM - Authorities found the remains of a missing Northern California girl Monday in a suitcase a few miles from where she was last seen.

Sandra Cantu's body was discovered inside the suitcase in an irrigation pond Monday, Tracy Police Chief Janet Thiessen said at an evening news conference.

Thiessen said Sandra, 8, was wearing the same clothes she was last seen in on March 27 - a pink "Hello Kitty" T-shirt and black leggings.

She said authorities plan to conduct an autopsy on the body to determine the cause of death.

"Our heartfelt sympathies go to Sandra's family and friends," she said. "We will determine the person or persons responsible for this reprehensible act, and we will bring them to justice."

A was found earlier today at the bottom of a pond being routinely drained on a farm at the end of Bacchetti Road.
UPDATE: San Joaquin County Sheriff, Tracy police, FBI, Coroner and media at scene of found container. ( Possibly black Garment bag or suitcase, with a red ribbon around it.) Evidence collection and mapping in progress, Police will open container in a few hours at a undisclosed location.
Google Map of location - Link

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UPDATE: News conference at 3:40 PM
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Police investigating the disappearance of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu are examining a container found by a dairy farmworker in a north Tracy irrigation pond after it was drained.

Investigators are examining a sealed container farm workers found today in an irrigation ditch north of Tracy to see if it has any connection to the March 27 disappearance of a Tracy girl.

The black container is suspicious because it wasn’t in the ditch when the dairy farm off of Bacchetti and Whitehall roads filled it up, according to San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Dep. Les Garcia.

Eight-year-old Sandra went missing from her mobile home park 10 days ago off of West Clover Road slightly more than 2 miles south of the dairy. A desperate search for the girl by 18 agencies including the FBI has turned up no leads strong enough to lead police to her whereabouts.

The container might shed some light on Sandra’s mysterious disappearance, said Tracy police spokesman Sgt. Tony Sheneman. He declined to say how big the container is.

Workers found it when they were draining the irrigation ditch to water some fields, Sheneman said.

“This is the first time we’ve found something like this,” Sheneman told reporters this afternoon shortly before FBI crews showed up.

He said it might take hours to find out if the container has any connection to Sandra, but that it’s unusual to find a container in an irrigation pond.

Ann Silva, who owns the Bacchetti and Silva Dairy Farm where the container was found, said she doesn’t know anything about the investigation being conducted on her property.

Police won’t let her on her farm on the banks of a slough called Sugar Cut, which drains into Old River.

Police plan to hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. to share updates about the case.
Source: Tracy Press - Link

5 comments:

  1. its so sad.... I really hope its not her body. I pray she's still alive

    ReplyDelete
  2. i heard that they had found her body in there..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Prayers be with this little girls family. I am so sorry for your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sandra Cantu dead - body found in pond

    Update: 10:15 04-06-09 - Tonight after Tracy Police announced Body discovery a large contingent of law enforcement personnel has re-converged on the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. Many citizens have gathered at the entrance which is blocked by City of Tracy police department. Residents are not being allowed to enter or leave.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope the authorities can find and arrest the perp fast!!!!! That poor child and her family... My heart goes out to them.

    ReplyDelete

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