Eight-year-old Sandra Cantu will be remembered at a memorial service Thursday in the central California community where she lived and was later found dead.
The girl, who police say died at the hands of a Sunday school teacher, was last seen alive March 27 in the mobile home park where she lived with her family in Tracy, California. Police found her body April 6, stuffed into a suitcase and submerged in a pond at a dairy farm in the area. Police arrested Melissa Huckaby, 28, and charged her with killing and raping Sandra, who was a friend of her 5-year-old daughter. She faces charges of murder, kidnapping, the performance of a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 14, and rape by instrument. Huckaby, a Sunday school teacher at Clover Road Baptist Church, lived in the nearby mobile home park that Sandra’s family lived in. If convicted, Huckaby would face the death penalty or life in prison without parole, San Joaquin County District Attorney James Willett said this week. The service for Sandra is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET at a high school in Tracy.