Why Did Melissa Huckaby Murder, Sandra Cantu? Where Is She Now?

melissa huckaby

Melissa Huckaby was accused of murdering Sandra Cantu. “See No Evil: Someone You Trust” on Investigation Discovery tells the story of the murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu in the otherwise peaceful town of Tracy, California. 

The case, which began as a missing person investigation, took a shocking turn when Sandra’s body was found in a nearby pond. 

The show follows the investigation and the use of CCTV footage to ultimately identify the perpetrator.

What happened to Sandra Cantu?

In the following days, Sandra’s father and stepmother joined her relatives in searching for her. They hoped to reunite with Sandra soon, only to be faced with their worst nightmares weeks later when her body was found in a cotton field nearby. 

The tragedy that struck soon revealed itself as a hate crime against Latin Americans like Sandra. 

Despite the fact that they had been apart for many years, the father’s love for his daughter hadn’t weakened; he was left broken and empty due to this injustice.

Eight-year-old Sandra’s death marked an end to her dreams of becoming an artist, something she wanted very much.

The puzzling disappearance of nine-year-old Sandra brought fear into her family’s hearts and sparks of hope that she would be found alive soon. 

Unfortunately, the search for Sandra remained fruitless for days, until an irrigation pond located near the family’s home revealed a sad truth. 

When authorities opened the suitcase lying at the bottom of the pond, they faced unimaginable horror: inside were Sandra’s lifeless body and signs of immense trauma and distress that indicated abuse, asphyxiation, and ultimately murder. 

It was clear then that Sandra had been awakened in her sleep to be taken away from her loved ones and subjected to such brutality. To this day, no perpetrator has been identified despite extensive investigations by police officers.

Who killed Sandra Cantu?

The investigation into the murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu in Tracy, California, was initially challenging for the police, as the suitcase and irrigation pond where her body was found did not provide many leads. 

The victim’s family had no known enemies and it was unclear why they would be targeted in such a brutal manner. 

However, the police did discover that the Cantu family had installed a camera on their front porch shortly before the murder.

Although officers reviewed hours of footage captured by the camera, it only showed Sandra walking out of the frame and provided no clues as to what happened to her. 

During the investigation, Sandra’s mother, Maria, informed the police that a local Sunday school teacher, Melissa Huckaby, had texted her on the day Sandra went missing claiming that something had been stolen.

Interestingly, Huckaby approached the police during Sandra’s funeral and mentioned that she had found a note that said Sandra’s body was inside a suitcase that had been disposed of in the water near Bacchetti Road and Whitehall Road. 

Though the note seemed suspicious, the police were unsure why Huckaby had received it. However, further information soon emerged when the police canvassed the area around the irrigation pond. 

A witness approached the police and reported seeing a purple SUV near the pond on the day Sandra went missing.

The witness also saw a female who had hurried out of the woods nearby, claiming that she had to stop her car to pee. 

The CCTV footage from Cantu’s front porch identified the purple SUV as belonging to Melissa Huckaby.

The witness was able to identify Huckaby from the footage. Without delay, the police arrested Huckaby and charged her with murder.

Where is Melissa Huckaby now?

Melissa’s case captivated the attention of many, especially once she abruptly decided to accept a plea deal halfway through the proceedings. 

She pleaded guilty to two counts, murder and kidnapping, and dropped her charges for rape with a foreign object and poisoning. 

The judge, however, had little compassion for Melissa’s action and sentenced her to life in prison without parole at the Central California Women’s Facility, Chowchilla. 

Though it seemed like Melissa wanted to own up to her actions, it was too late; justice had already been served at a heavy cost.

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