Sandra Cantu Case: Church Searched- Pastors Wife Speaks

Posted by BOC Staff | Kidnapping,Missing Persons,Murdered,Sandra Cantu | Tuesday 7 April 2009 10:27 pm

Tracy, CA- Today’s developments in the case of murdered 8 year old Tracy girl, Sandra Cantu, can only be described as ominous. Although a search warrant was executed last evening, the church and surrounding property were not searched until late this afternoon.


 During a press conference earlier today, Tracy PD PIO, Lt. Tony Shenemen, announced that all previous and current warrants that have been issued in  this case to date will be sealed.  Throughout the day, there was fueled speculation that Pastor Lawless, of the Clover Baptist Church, would be arrested.

Pastor Lane Lawless did not shy from the press straight-away:

Lane Lawson

Lane Lawson

“I just spent the night with the police down at the station answering all their questions,” Lane Lawless said. Asked if he had anything to do with Sandra’s slaying, he said, “No.”

Connie Lawless, Lane’s wife, stated that they were being interviewed because they are good friends with Sandra and her Mom; Sandra plays frequently with her 5 year old great-grandaughter.



Connie Lawless stops to speak to reporters
Connie Lawless stops to speak to reporters

Mrs. Lawless did not have any animosity regarding the Police interviews and searches.

Lawless briefly answered questions by reporters on the couple’s way out of Orchard Esates:
..” police seized our  phones and computers during their search of  our home  Monday night. She said investigators had questioned her husband “just because we live in the park. They are just covering all their bases.

“We were very open to them taking anything they wanted to take,” Connie Lawless said. “We feel that the more people they can eliminate, the quicker they’ll get to the truth of the matter.”

Of particular concern is Mrs. Lawless’s quote regarding Sandra Cantu:

“She was at our house quite often,” Connie Lawless said. “She was the sweetest little thing. It breaks our heart to think that anyone would take such a tiny little thing, abuse her and murder her.”

(editors note: I find that quote suspect. Unless she is privy to information we are not, she indicates Sandra has been abused prior to her murder: How would she know if Sandra had been abused prior to her death)

In other developments today, Sandra’s autopsy results will not be forthcoming anytime soon. Shenemen announced that the San Joaquin Coroner is awaiting toxicology and tissue sample results before completing her autopsy or announcing her cause of death.  Typically, a preliminary autopsy result is released in a situation where further lab results are pending.  In Sandra’s case, it is unclear why the preliminary autopsy is being witheld.  Also “of note”, In today’s pressr, Sgt Shenemen used the word “killers” as opposed to “killer or killers” as he had used previously in discussing possible persons of interest in this case.

Check Back with for updates to Sandra’s story. 

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  1. Nancy says:

    I read this on “CBS13 cameras rolled as an agent from the FBI’s Evidence Response Team crawled into an underground space and emerged with what appeared to be a pair of work gloves. The FBI has not commented on what they are searching for.”

    I hope they find the monster or monsters that murdered Sandra Cantu. I have a bad feeling about this pastor and his wife. I hope I’m wrong. But I do hope whoever it is, gets caught and fast.

  2. Scoop says:


  3. marykay says:

    I have been watching this since it started, when I heard the quote from Connie Lawless the first thing I thought was how does she know Sandra was abused??? Makes you think!! Blink you are the only place I have found with the most reliable information.

  4. TigressPen says:


    You are a great source of information! I pray the pastor and wife had nothing to do with Sandra’s death but I do not find the comment about abuse as suspicious. That is the main assumption anyone would make. And Mrs. Lawless likely was only verbalizing the general consensus. The person responsible for Sandra’s kidnap and murder didn’t do it without reason. And I, too, believe that reason was for the vile of abuse.

  5. Brenda in Virginia says:

    Anyone assuming immediately the pastor’s wife has information is truly not thinking rationally. HONESTLY everyone…what is the FIRST thing you figured happened? FIRST thing I thought was OMG!! Some monster pedophile has raped a murdered that little girl (even before her body was found). Why else would anyone have taken her and leave her dead? WAsn’t cuz that “wanted a little girl to love”…

    NOt being mean, but if the pastor is involved, it’s clear in the wife’s demeanor she is unaware. My father was a pastor and I promise you if anyone had done such a thing at his church…he’d have been horrified and probably would not say anything to the media to hurt the investigation.

  6. Torsade says:

    FYI: You have the Lawless people called LawSON a couple places in your article.
    TY, there was one for Mrs. Lawless only, I appreciate you pointing it out.

  7. marykay says:

    I too hope that the Pastor is not involved, just saying the suitcase Sandra was found in was stolen from a church member that had donated it for a rummage sale to be held at the church.

  8. Char says:

    Maybe the minister is not guilty.
    What does everyone else think.?

  9. Erin says:

    I don’t know if Mrs. Lawless’s quote is that suspect – I mean, I think a lot of people assume poor little Sandra was sexually assaulted, because so often in these circumstances that is the case.

  10. Prevost1580 says:

    LE does have to investigate everyone but there does appear to be a focus on this church & it’s pastor.

    Isn’t it amazing how some cases move soooo quickly! and Caylee Anthony & Haliegh Cummings are/were soooo slow. Of course with Caylee Anthony the family is guilty of obstruction & tampering with evidence. Haliegh’s family too! knows what happened but I seriously doubt that child is alive.

  11. Char says:

    Poor little Halleigh, I`m sure she is gone, but just nothing.
    At least now, Sandra`s family can put her to rest.

  12. Gracie says:

    Kia SUV that was searched by FBS was registered to a Melissa Huckabee. Who does the cadillac belong to? The pastor?

  13. Red Ranger says:

    “Williams said that the mysterious black suitcase Cantu was found in was reported stolen by another congregation member the same day Cantu disappeared.

    “That suitcase was to go to the church for a rummage sale with some stuff in it and the person put it somewhere, either in the back of a car somewhere. But anyway, when she came back out the suitcase was gone,” Williams said.”

    Blink, whassup wif dis?

    O baby it’s comin Red, maybe within the hour.. You guys are getting too good for me:)

  14. Char says:

    This case is really twisting and turning.

  15. Dan Mata says:

    Great, so now we cannot connect the suitcase with anyone accept the unknown suitcase theif who also, by the way, probably killed Sandra Cantu. That clears things up. Also, I don;t find the “abused” comment by the Pastors wife to be teling in any way. I think everyone assumes that she was abducted and killed in furtherance of a henious act of abuse. I think it is time to stop stoning the Pastor or the other POI’s until Tracy PD releases evidence to that effect.

    The fact is the well-meaning Tracy Police have no idea who committed this horrific act. They failed to treat this matter as an abduction until it was too late to do any good. They speculated that Sandra would be found alive with no basis for same. They failed to get the scent dogs on scene when they could have actually tracked something. Last Saturday they said they had new leads that they felt would lead to the killer(s)when in fact, it appears they are blindly searching everyone and everything near the trailer park in the hopes of finding something (I don’t blame them if they have nothing to go on they should do this) The have no clear suspect and they have no clear direction for the investigation.

  16. no excuses says:

    Well, I am sure they’ll find out. Seems as tho they’re handling this investigation the right way unlike some cases in Florida need I say more

  17. EDDIEisMINE says:

    Just because she said “abused her” doesn’t mean she knows anything. It just means she figures whoever took her, abused her before murdering her. However Sandra died, whether by strangulation or stuffinng into the suitcase alive, is abuse. Its more probable the guy who KISSED her did it.

  18. EDDIEisMINE says:

    btw, who in their right mind would NOT treat this as an abduction?

  19. Disgusted says:

    They have arrested Melissa Huckabee. Guess they have SOME idea!

  20. Felicity says:

    Well, now we know who the killer is. Ms. Huckaby!! I am stunned! I NEVER suspected her…never. LE didn’t give a motive. Apparently this Huckaby woman has a criminal record, and suffers from some type of mental illness. That is all that is being said. I just can’t believe this!

    Blink, hope you will get more details soon.

    Rest in Peace precious Sandra. My prayers go out to all the friends and loved ones of this little girl. May God give you strength to get through this.

  21. Cheryl says:

    I wonder if that Sinclair person is involved and perhaps the “white” man in his “40′s” that the police cadet kid said he saw in the Silverado suspiciously near the location where Sandra’s body was discovered. I had never heard that Sandra’s older sister came by the Huckaby house and was asked to watch her daughter… creeps me out thinking she was probably transporting Sandra to the church, perhaps that shed, that the police are so interested in. If Sandra was drugged… I keep thinking about the mattress or sofa bed they removed from the church… perhaps someone was abusing her in the church prior to her murder. Any thoughts?

  22. Of particular concern is Mrs. Lawless’s quote regarding Sandra Cantu:

    Seems your suspicion of the grandsmother’s comment is noteworthy, as Huckaby was changed today with several sexually defined counts against the child.

    [..]“She was at our house quite often,” Connie Lawless said. “She was the sweetest little thing. It breaks our heart to think that anyone would take such a tiny little thing, abuse her and murder her.”

    (editors note: I find that quote suspect. Unless she is privy to information we are not, she indicates Sandra has been abused prior to her murder: How would she know if Sandra had been abused prior to her death) [..]

  23. Jenny says:

    I think the cot in the church is were Sandra was raped. Then Huckaby probaly would hide the cot with sandras blood on it learned this from another site.

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