April 12, 2009 in Nation/World

Sunday school teacher booked in child’s death

Terry Collins Associated Press

TRACY, Calif. – Police said Saturday they do not know what motivated the Sunday school teacher they arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and killing an 8-year-old girl whose body was found in a suitcase dumped in an irrigation pond.

Melissa Huckaby, 28, a local minister’s granddaughter, was arrested late Friday about five hours after she drove herself to the local police station at the request of officers, said police Sgt. Tony Sheneman. She was being held without bail in connection with the death of Sandra Cantu, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department said.

Cantu disappeared on March 27. On April 6, farmworkers draining an irrigation pond found the suitcase.

Huckaby walked into the police station Friday and started a conversation with officers, Sheneman said at a news conference.

“She was calm, cool and collected, then she became very emotional.  … I couldn’t begin to even theorize what her motive was,” he said.

Investigators know where the girl was killed but can’t disclose the location, Sheneman said. Autopsy results are not yet available. He wouldn’t say whether police believe the slaying was accidental or deliberate.

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