Disturbing New Allegations in Sandra Cantu's Murder

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: An arrest has been made in the murder of eight-year-old Sandra Cantu in California, and the details of her arrest are bizarre. And, worse, they're terrifying.

Eight-year-old Sandra disappeared March 27, last seen on Surveillance video skipping down the street near the mobile home where her family lived.

The little girl's body was eventually found stuffed in a suitcase and floating in a pond, police announcing the arrest over the weekend.


SGT. TONY SHENEMAN, TRACY POLICE: Nothing we have done and nothing we can say will ever return Sandra to her family and to the community. But last night we arrested Melissa Huckaby, a 28-year-old Sunday school teacher, who lives at the Orchard Estates mobile home park, and she has been booked into San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping and murder of Sandra Cantu.

There is still a lot of work left to be done over the next several weeks to ensure that Ms. Huckaby pays for what she has done. There are no other suspects in this case. We do not anticipate any other arrests in this case.


VAN SUSTEREN: What else do we know about this woman under arrest, and what else could she be charged with?

Joining us live Henry Lee, reporter for "The San Francisco Chronicle." Nice to see you, Henry.



LEE: We -

VAN SUSTEREN: I understand -- go ahead.

LEE: What we have here is no more arrests are expected. But, unfortunately, unbelievably, we have the possibility of additional charges Tuesday. First thing in the afternoon, we are going to have the possibility of murder in the course of kidnapping as well as allegations of rape and child molestation.

So an already horrific case, Greta, even more disturbing than before.

VAN SUSTEREN: Henry, in terms of the rape, because the defendant, the woman in custody - it's a woman, and the child is a woman. Without being too graphic, are they saying that she's the one that is involved in the actual commission of a rape, or are they saying that she in some way aided someone else in a rape?

LEE: Greta, they are saying that Melissa Huckaby alone is responsible for the heinous acts that are alleged to have occurred to Sandra.

Watch Greta's interview

And what we do know is that if these charges are filed Tuesday as far as murder with special circumstances of murder and the commission of sexual acts, Melissa Huckaby might face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

VAN SUSTEREN: Henry, what happened? We see this child skipping on a tape. And apparently she went under a mobile home. The what do the police say happened?

LEE: They are not saying much, Greta. All they are saying is that they believe, they are telling us that somehow Melissa Huckaby engaged in these sexual acts, allegedly, with Sandra, and then killed her, sources are telling us, in the church where she served as a Sunday school teacher and where her own grandfather was pastor.

So unbelievable set of circumstances. Only she is alleged to be responsible.

VAN SUSTEREN: So is the theory is that she went into the mobile home, the child went into the mobile home, left the mobile home, and then went directly to the church, where she ran into Melissa Huckaby, and that's where Melissa Huckaby murdered her? Is that the theory?

LEE: The surveillance video, Greta, shows that Sandra was seen skipping toward Melissa Huckaby's home. So we do not know what happened between Sandra's arrival at Huckaby's home and then any transfer to the church, which is just a quarter mile from this mobile home park.

So all we know is that we see her skipping happily toward Melissa Huckaby's home, and then she was never seen alive again.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the story that we had heard originally was that she had been with a friend, had gone home to do her homework, or something, and she left the mobile home.

So, presumably, under the police theory, she went to Melissa Huckaby's home. why did she leave her mobile home? Did Melissa call, or what summoned her to the home?

LEE: What we were told initially was that Sandra was visiting a friend in the mobile home park. And what we've learned subsequently is that Ms. Huckaby told reporters "Well, I sent Sandra away."

So we do not know if there was some kind of anger involved. People have asked me, what could possibly lead a woman, a Sunday school teacher, to kill such a defenseless little child. Unfortunately, if these sexual acts occurred as alleged, unfortunately, many suspects do not want to have a witness to live to testify about that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Melissa Huckaby, besides being a Sunday school teacher, do you know anything more about her?

LEE: She has bounced back between Orange County, California, as well as San Joaquin County, where Tracy is. She was on the dance team in high school in Orange County. She has worked for a grocery store in the Tracy area.

And she does have a couple of petty theft convictions. She does not have a clean record, but certainly nothing violent in her past as alleged here.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, we're probably learn tomorrow much more of the prosecution's theory. Henry, thank you.

LEE: Thanks, Greta.

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