Girl's Murderer: Cold, Calculating

Melissa Huckaby stuck to claim of innocence as evidence mounted
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2010 6:51 AM CDT
Girl's Murderer: Cold, Calculating
Melissa Huckaby, 29, wipes away tears after watching a presentation of Sandra Cantu's life before Huckaby was sentenced in Stockton, Calif. on Monday, June 14, 2010.   (Cindi Christie)

Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby placed the lifeless body of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu into a suitcase with a care that investigators say indicated a "calm, calculating mind at work." This and other macabre pieces of information were revealed in more than 1,800 pages released yesterday, shedding new light on Huckaby, a depressed woman with a penchant for cutting herself, in the murder of her daughter's playmate last year.

Still, Huckaby never revealed her motive and stuck to her claim that Sandra didn't suffer, nor was she sexually assaulted—though the forensic pathologist testified quite the opposite. Huckaby's calculation was on display in the days after the murder, when she tearfully handed police a handwritten note she claimed to have found saying that Sandra had been "stolin" and dumped in a nearby pond. "There are so many unanswered questions that we will never know," the prosecutor said. (Read more Melissa Huckaby stories.)

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