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Sandra Cantu's Mother Has No Forgiveness for Daughter's Killer, Melissa Huckaby, in "Suitcase Slaying"

Maria Chavez, right (AP)

Maria Chavez, right (AP)
STOCKTON, CA (CBS/AP)  The mother of 8-year-old murder victim Sandra Cantu, whose body was found in a suitcase one year ago, says she agrees with the life prison sentence for Melissa Huckaby, the Sunday school teacher who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering her daughter.

But Maria Chavez, of Tracy, in northern California, said there is no forgiveness.

Chavez says it's "difficult to understand" why she Huckaby killed Sandra. On Tuesday, Chavez told NBC's "Today" show that she "can't forgive somebody that took my little girl from me."

Huckaby, 29, sobbed in court Monday as she apologized. "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 said, before before being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Details of Sandra Cantu's's murder were slim until a judge lifted a gag order Monday. An investigative summary disclosed by authorities said investigators found contusions on Sandra's head and body. Injuries to the outside of her genitals were congruent with a bloodstained rolling pin that investigators found inside the church where Huckaby taught.

On April 6, 2009, in an irrigation pond, police found Sandra Cantu's body stuffed in a black suitcase. Video surveillance had captured the girl's last known whereabouts in the Orchard Estate Mobile Home Park on March 29. Approximately eight minutes later the video shows Huckaby driving her SUV away from the mobile home park in the direction of her grandfather's church, where police say the bloodstained rolling pin was found.

Huckaby pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors did not pursue the death penalty, and dropped charges accusing Huckaby of sexually abusing the victim.

Angie Chavez, Sandra Cantu's aunt, told Judge Linda Lofthus, "The only solace we have as a family is to know that she [Huckaby] will never do this again."


  • Naimah Jabali-Nash

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