Calif. Sunday School Teacher Held in Child's Death

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 11, 2009 7:48 AM CDT
This image provided by the San Joaquin County Seriff's department shows the booking photo of Melissa Huckaby taken Saturday April 11, 2009. Huckaby, a Sunday school teacher, has been arrested and charged...   ((AP Photo/San Joaquin County Sheriff))
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(Newser) – A Tracy, Calif., Sunday school teacher was arrested last last night on suspicion of kidnapping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found in a suitcase in an irrigation pond Monday. Melissa Huckaby, 28, was arrested about 5 hours after she drove herself to the local police station at the request of officers, the AP reports. The suitcase that held Sandra's body belonged to Huckaby, police said.

Huckaby had previously told the Tracy Press that Sandra visited her home on the day of her disappearance, March 27, 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; she taught Sunday school at his Baptist church and lived with Lawless in the mobile home park that also was Sandra's home.