Sandra Cantu Case: Melissa Huckaby Pleads Guilty Today

Sheri Reed

Flickr photo by daveparker
Melissa Huckaby, the Northern California mom accused of the rape and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, entered a surprise guilty plea in the case.

The Sandra Cantu case rocked the newswire in April 2009 after the girl, last seen skipping happily by a surveillance camera in the mobile home park where she lived, went missing. Her body was found several days later in a suitcase just two miles away. Shortly after that, Melissa Huckaby, a woman, mom, neighbor, and Sunday school teacher, was arrested for the young girl's rape and murder. As moms, we can't fathom murder at the hands of another mother (or anyone, for that matter), nor can we handle thinking that any mom in our town could be capable of such a horrific act. We ached for Sandra and her family.

Today Huckaby entered a guilty plea to murder with a special circumstance for kidnapping. She now faces life in prison without possibility of parole, and under the plea agreement, prosecutors won't seek the death penalty. They also dropped other charges, which include child endangerment and furnishing a harmful substance for allegedly drugging a 7-year-old girl and a man prior to Sandra's disappearance.

Many of the details of the case have yet to be revealed; however, sources close to the investigation believe the kidnapping and killing also involved a lewd or lascivious act on a child and rape with a foreign object, which all may have taken place at the Clover Road Baptist Church, where Melissa Huckaby's grandfather is the pastor and where she taught Sunday school.

Awful. All I can say is that I'm happy Huckaby won't see the light of day again in her lifetime -- while at the same time, I worry about the fate of Huckaby's own young daughter. Bless her. Bless us all.

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