Body of missing Tracy girl found in suitcase
This hanout photo of 8 year old Sandra Cantu of Tracy, Califorina, was taken on March 8, 2009 on her 8th birthday. Cantu was reported last being seen on March 27 at Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park wearing a pink Hello Kitty shirt and a striped dress. She is hispanic, with brown hair, brown eyes, about 4 feet tall and weighs 45 pounds. (Special to The Chronicle)
(04-06) 21:03 PDT Tracy -- Police in Tracy announced tonight that they found the remains of a child who went missing 10 days ago inside a black suitcase that was discovered earlier today floating in an irrigation pond.
Sandra Cantu vanished March 27 after telling her mother she was going to a friend's home to play.
The suitcase was found by farm workers at about 10 a.m. as they were draining the pond at a dairy farm on Bacchetti Road in Tracy. The location is about two miles from Cantu's home.
Witnesses told investigators the suitcase was not there when they drained the same pond about two weeks ago.
Cantu disappeared from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park 10 days prior. The last official sighting of her was on a surveillance video taped that afternoon, showing her skipping outside her home.
Tracy Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said investigators had strong suspicions about the trunk because it is in such a remote area, is so large, and just showed up.
"We're out in the middle of nowhere looking at this scene," he said this evening before the announcement. "It would be very unusual for someone to just chuck something that big out here.
Sheneman said investigators, which include agents from the FBI, have no solid suspects in the case. Sandra's father, Daniel Cantu, has been questioned several times, as have two other men who live near the girl, but nobody is in custody.
Hundreds of volunteer searchers from throughout California have hunted through a landfill, rivers, area homes and fields all over the Tracy area since Sandra's disappearance.