Sandra Cantu Case: Huckaby’s Dark Past Emerges

Huckaby_arraigned1__04_15_09Tracy, CA- As we all watched the horrific events leading up to the finding of Sandra Cantu’s remains in a suitcase in an irrigation pond, there was a collective feeling of “There has to be more”.  When murder and rape suspect Melissa Huckaby, 28, was arrested  and we watched her appearance in court, the confusion was palpable. 

Tracy Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman stated the Tracy PD is getting hundreds of calls per day from the public emphatically declaring there is no way she acted alone in the molestation, rape and murder of this beautiful child we last saw skipping past her home. The fact that Tracy PD admits they do not have a motive for this crime, and can’t begin to speculate on one, leaves most of us struggling to accept or discount, in some cases both, the senseless scenario of a woman without a violent past viciously raping and murdering an innocent little girl.

Melissa Huckaby’s family and friends burst onto the scene immediately upon her arrest to proclaim other than mild depression, she had no psychological markers to indicate she was capable of such an atrocity.  Joni Lawless Hughes , Huckaby’s aunt, went as far as to say this was completely out of character and they could not and did not believe she committed the crimes she is accused of.  As is usually the case fairly quickly after a crime of this nature, friends and known associates of Melissa Huckaby are telling a very different story.

Suicidal in the Sixth Grade

A classmate of Huckaby’s, Emily Fontes, recounts a very sad and early indication Melissa was deeply troubled. In a letter dated May 20, 1999, one month before her graduation, Huckaby claims to have been suicidal since the sixth grade. An excerpt:

..All I know is I have come up with a solution that will solve all my problems, and I have been seriously thinking about it.. I have been thinking about it for a very long time and I am very serious about it..

When I was little, like sixth grade, I used to pray like every night that I would not wake up in the morning. I just wasn’t meant to live I guess. No one wants me or even cares if I live or not and I’m just in the way anyways.


High School Years

Huckaby grew up in LaHabra and attended Brea High School.  Carol Finn was Huckaby’s former dance instructor and was shocked to learn of her arrest: 

“It’s shocking that anyone would do that, but it’s very surprising that Melissa would do it,” “I think sometimes kids in high school, you see there’s hatred or they are upset about things in the world. … But Melissa was never that way.” “You know there … are students, they did something bad and you say, ‘Oh well, I could see that coming.’ But that wasn’t the case with Melissa at all. You never would have dreamt that she (would do) anything bad.”

Finn said Huckaby and a friend would regularly visit her during lunch and after school. Finn doesn’t believe Huckaby had previous dance training but enjoyed dancing. Huckaby never caused any problems. 

Trouble Begins

A source inside the investigation of Melissa Huckaby has confirmed that her first serious boyfriend and high school sweetheart moved away right around the time Melissa began having difficulty at home with her parents, as did her best friend. Huckaby  It was at this time, during the end of her senior year, that Huckaby accused a Cypress Police Officer of raping her in the back of his patrol car while she was in handcuffs. As first reported by The Tracy Press,  three of Huckaby’s friends who do not wish to be identified begrudgingly divulged the information about the rape to Tracy Press reporter Jenn Wadswoth.  All claim they do not know one another, and according to Wadsworth all 3 stories were identical.  As my readers know, I do not report unsubstantiated rumor on blinkoncrime, especially from unverifiable sources. I emailed Ms. Wadsworth of my concern to carry her piece  without corroberation and in very short order, she had confirmation on the invesigation of the alleged rape report by Melissa Huckaby from Sgt. Tom Bruce  from Tracy Press: 

 Cypress police department spokesman Sgt. Tom Bruce said today that the department there conducted an investigation into claims by a Tracy murder suspect that a cop raped her 10 years ago. The investigation cleared the Orange County officer.

One has got to ponder the relationship between the occurrances at this time in Huckaby’s life almost concurrently. Boyfriend and best friend move away, parents adopt a baby girl,  Huckaby alleges rape.  How these incidents unfolded chronologically and by what catalyst will undoubtedly provide a significant window into her behavior going forward.

(editors note: My sincere thanks to Ms. Wadsworth for verifying the authenticity of this information and I look forward to her upcoming exclusives on the Sandra Cantu case.  This reporter is doing exactly what reporters are supposed to do- report fairly and accurately, yes, but investigate!  Her work has progressed this case without a doubt and I applaud the zeal of an investigative colleague any day.)

Huckaby is said to have divided her time between Tracy and Orange County for the time period following her graduation up until June 2008 when she moved in with her grandparents, Connie and Pastor Clifford Lane Lawless. In 2002, Huckaby took out a restraining order against a recent former boyfriend, Josh Palmer . According to those documents, she alleged the respondent was threatening to kill her and her grandfather, Lane Lawless.

On a recent GMA appearance, Johnny Huckaby, Melissa’s former husband and father of their 5 year old daughter, confirmed that she had been dating someone prior to their relationship that was a cause for concern for Melissa.  Blinkoncrime has learned from court records Mr. Palmer was arrested for a DUI with a special circumstance of having a passenger under the age of 14 at the time of the citation, but the identity of the child is not known. Mr. Palmer has an extensive criminal record.

In 2003, Huckaby claimed bankruptcy which included charges from 2 ambulance transportations and outstinding hospital bills. As she was receiving public asisstance at the time, it is unclear what the fees were for, and why should would not have been eligible for indigent charge off.  She married Juhnny Huckaby and give birth to their child a few months later.

In 2005 Huckaby got a job as a Medical terminologist and divorced Johnny Hukaby; who has not spoken to her or seen his daughter since chortly thereafter. It would seem the ascension into what appears to be Ms. Huckaby’s psychological downturn starts to be more visual beginning with her theft charges in 2006 in Los Angeles County.  Almost immediately following that arrest, Huckaby and her daughter moved to a home in La Palma.

Were there Was Smoke There was Fire

In 2007, Melissa Huckaby rented a room at 7101 Caprice Circle, La Palma.  It appears to be a spacious home in a nice neighborhood and Huckaby’s roomate Evelyn Lloyd had enjoyed living there for the last 12 years:

“She was very nice … very cordial,” said Evelyn Lloyd, her housemate who lived at the house for about 12 years. “Every girl who ended up in (that) house had a story. She (Huckaby) really didn’t have a story. She was very secretive.”

In 2007, two fires were set at the house just eight days apart. Lloyd was arrested in the first fire on July 20, but the case against her was dismissed. Lloyd said Huckaby might have set her up.

Huckaby and her daughter were at the house when the second fire broke out, on July 28, said La Palma Police Chief Edward Ethell. Everyone who lived at the house, including Huckaby, was questioned about the fire. Huckaby was considered a “person of interest,” but she was not arrested, Ethell said. La Palma police officers are sharing information about the fire case with the Tracy Police Department and the investigation is ongoing.

According to John Hughes, Huckaby’s Uncle, Melissa moved in with the Lawless’s in Orchard Estates 10 months ago. In November of 2008, Huckaby was sentenced to 3 years probation and mandatory participation in a Mental Health program for a petty theft conviction in San Joaquin County. Huckaby’s counselors felt she was making progress, was taking psychotropic medications, and were ready to proceed to her next appearance on April 3rd; which she missed.

One thing that seems to be clear in the last several years of Ms. Huckaby’s life, there are several flags that even to a layman, would bring cause for concern, putting it mildly. What I find again in Sandra’s case, is the brutally preventable death of a child.

I am not suggesting that grandparents are responsible for their children’s actions as they are parenting their grandchildren.

CaseyMelissaCompare-1However, it cant be lost on anyone that Huckaby’s daughter was wisked away to Cypress the day after Sandra went missing .

What prompted that decision? At what point when the parents of an individual demonstrating overt wrecklessness with their children are the grandparents obligated to come forward and report them to CFS?

In this case, I would offer a woman being investigated for arson, convicted of theft, and on psych meds worthy of an intervention of some kind. In the three largest missing children’s cases in recent history: Caylee Marie Anthony, Haleigh Cummings and Sandra Cantu, there is one glaring common denominator. Their grandparents were AWARE of behavior on behalf of their child that put their grandchildren or in this case, someone’s else’s child at risk.


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  2. Jaelin says:

    TRACY, Calif. (CBS13/AP) ―

    “Tracy church pastor Lane Lawless told CBS 13′s David Begnaud he will have a lot to say when “this is all over.”

    Lawless was referring to the saga surrounding his granddaughter Melissa Huckaby. The 28-year-old mother is charged with kidnapping, raping, and murdering her daughter’s playmate Sandra Cantu.

    Begnaud was on location in Tracy on Saturday working as a special correspondent for the Dr. Phil show when he and producers interviewed Lawless outside his Clover Road Baptist Church. Lawless says he has not seen his granddaughter since her arrest and he has no plans to visit her in jail. ”

    I say, good for you, Grandpa. Just wish you would have said something a lot sooner and maybe Sandra would still be alive…

  3. Brandi says:

    Blink , I believe you summed up the thought in the last few sentenaces. I believe the family is responsible when they see flags that should alert them to possible danger of that of a child. We are to protect our children at all cost!!!!! Great Job Blink , your faithful follower

  4. deena says:

    I don’t see what else the grandparents could have done, with the information that I have on the situation. Her history was never about harming kids, she had depression and was a thief. She was seeing a counselor and on psychiatric medications. I am only saying this because of my own current situation. My ex is bipolar and makes very bad choices but I still have to give my children to him every other weekend. He is receiving psych therapy and meds, but I don’t trust at anytime that he won’t just snap (he has before and I had a restrainign order against him. My hands are tied though since he technically hasn’t done anything to actually harm my kids. The legal system won’t do anything until heaven forbid something bad happens. Even people with felony theft charges, depression, and previous suicide attempts are still allowed to work with kids. I have to say that I really don’t think anyone around her saw something as awful as a crime as this, coming.

    respectfully, there is evidence this woman was suicidal. Her child was in a home that was set fire to 2x. That’s just what we know about.

  5. coolio says:

    interesting history. Yup, I still think we will learn there was something about MH being jealous of Sandra and how grandparents treated Sandra compared to her daughter.

    Its being reported Pastor Lane does not intend to visit her in jail. As, has been said before, I think he has resigned himself to believing MH is guilty

  6. dddeerma says:

    Knowing about the arson investigation changes the situation here. Arson is a sneaky, destructive hateful crime of violence. It takes an angry and thoughtless person, frequently sociopathic, to attempt to kill by burning. I was thinking she had to have some other motive and an accomplice, which may still be the truth here, but if she set those fires she suddenly becomes more believable as the sole actor in the Cantu murder

  7. coolio says:

    I’m with Deena. What we have heard wouldn’t have been enough for her to be committed or have her child taken from her custody.

    The ONLY way this truly could have been prevented is if MH did not have access to Sandra so either committed or jailed. Yes, there are red flags of “problems” but family couldn’t have had her committed.

    Blink, per your report, they thought other woman set the first fire. Suicide attempts by themselves don’t result in long-term commitment. Do we even know date of first attempt that family knew about? Attempts are usually a cry for help AND it appeared she was getting some help.

    I have waaaay more of a problem with the Tracy police and this alleged incident in January as previously reported. Per the above tracypress article, 7-year old child was 45 lbs in mid-January – exact same weight of Sandra in her missing person flyer. Sandra turned 8 a couple of weeks before being murdered. I would be willing to place a lot of money this previous incident involved Sandra.

    Per above article, police dismissed drugging incident b/c Mom had an alcohol and drug problem. Oh, ok….. Meaning what, they then thought Mom put drugs there? Right, then why did Mom take her to the hospital to be tested?

    As someone else said, there is only one reason someone would give a child drugs – to incapacitate her. Child was gone with MH for 4 hours and came back with drugs in her system. Exactly how does fact, Mom had alcohol on her breath matter? So, they judged Mom as being unfit mother? How does that negate fact child HAD the drugs in her system.

    Sorry, let’s place the blame where it belongs here. LE was in the best position to do something here and didn’t.

  8. Scratch says:

    While everyone debates whether or not a woman could be capable of this crime, what obligation did LE have to act on the information they already had implicating this woman?

    Why did Tracy PD state after 4 days, that they felt “CONFIDENT” Sandra was “ALIVE AND WELL”? Why didn’t they immediately classify the disappearance of an 8 year old as a KIDNAPPING? Why was an AMBER ALERT not issued? Why did they have to be pressured into releasing the valuable surveillance tape of Sandra’s last moments before she went missing?

    Shenemen did say that there were other cameras in the MHP and it’s been rumoured that Sandra’s home had a Second surveillance camera. If the Cantu residence had a Second camera, I assume that it provided coverage for the area to the left of the First camera’s “field of view”. If that’s the case, the 2nd camera would show the area of MH’s house. If the camera captured MH’s house, then the camera would most likely (my theory here) show Sandra going up to MH and getting in to her vehicle. Even if the entire exchange was not in the range of the Second camera, I speculate that at the very least, the vehicle was taped by the other surveillance cameras while exiting the MHP with Sandra inside…..

    Could the answers to my questions lie not just in what’s on the tape, but the HANDLING of the tape? Could the Tracy PD and Sgt Shenemen have noted this exchange, and determined that it did not look like an abduction? After viewing that tape, was Shenemen confident Sandra was alive and well because the very fact of what has been unfolding in this past week, was the very last thing they could have imagined? They were looking at a smiling Sandra, getting into her friend’s car, with her friend’s SundaySchoolTeacher MOTHER.. and thinking, she HAS to be alive.

    Then, this Tracy Press article:
    The investigators themselves, when first confronted with the evidence that pointed to Huckaby, were inclined to look for another suspect.
    “When investigators were first looking at this they went ‘Huh, no way… Who did she work with?’” Sheneman said. “We got that info and said ‘there’s no way, that doesn’t happen.”
    -end quote

    It appears they not only needed convincing that it was indeed a kidnapping, but also, by their own admission, that it had been perpetrated by a woman. Regarding Sheneman’s statement, “who did she work with?”, I suspect that thinking was what brought them to Sinclair’s residence. He was rumoured to have dated MH and LE were obviously on the lookout for a MALE with ties to MH, not MH. Apparently, Nothing ever surfaced of the likes they were expecting, and ultimately, Sandra Cantu’s Murderer was only arrested after she VOLUNTARILY walked in to the Sherrif’s office and gave them probable cause.

    This leaves me with several disconcerting conclusions:

    1) LE knew exactly who took Sandra away from her home within hours of the crime
    2) LE was wasting time and money, rounding up Male POI based solely on “gender profiling”, subjecting them and their families to public scrutiny, all the while knowing, that NONE of them were the last person seen with Sandra
    3) By not arresting Melissa Huckaby, LE placed those around her in mortal danger.
    4) By not arresting Melissa Huckaby, LE afforded her the opportunity to escape accountability with her attempt to commit suicide.
    5) What if the Press never got Melissa talking about that luggage and identifying it as hers? What if Melissa had been a better liar and kept her stories straight?…. How long would it have taken the Tracy PD to come around to considering that, just maybe, a Woman COULD be capable of the rarest of homicides?

    Like… oh..I don’t know, maybe…. THE WOMAN THAT WAS CAPTURED ON TAPE DRIVING OFF WITH SANDRA??? moo

  9. Jaelin says:

    Very interesting and thought provoking points, Scratch! I can’t help but agree with you 100%.

  10. obliquity says:

    I still think there is more to this story, and I’m not necessarily inferring that MH had an accomplice (although that wouldn’t surprise me). We need to go way, way back, though, to when MH was in sixth grade and felt suicidal. That is a very intense, and I would argue abnormal feeling for a sixth grader. What led to her feeling so depressed, unwanted, and in the way. I don’t think it can be explained away by the parents favoring another sibling, either. The theft bothers me less than the possibility of arson, as it seems MH was extremely poor and could’ve been stealing as a means of survival.

    As I stated in one of my first posts on this site — graduating from theft to raping and murdering a child isn’t a natural progression of crimes. Even arson could’ve been financially motivated and thus cancel out some of the more sociopathic implications.

    The grandfather’s response is screaming red flag, IMHO. There is more to this story. A lot of kids grow up feeling unloved and unwanted, but few rape and kill little girls, and an even fewer number of those that do are women.

    I completely agree with you. Add in that in 2002 the restraining order against Josh Palmer also named Lane Lawless, although MH did not live in Tracy at the time. Did he know something?

  11. sweetpea says:

    I have a different take on MH’s history. First of all it is very difficult for family members to analize a person’s mental condition, especially if she does not live with them full time. Ten months is not that long. Now add the fact that she was recently placed under mental supervision and given psych meds. Were talking Jeckle and Hyde here.

    First I’d like to address the fires; lets not dismiss the fact that she was never arrested, only a person of interest. More than likely she never told her family.

    Secondly, the bankrupcy due to medical bills. Now I am guessing here but, If she knew she needed help and was trying to get it or just plain lost it and ended up in the mental ward. As an adult the hospital would not have the right to contact her parents or her grandparents. She would simply be placed on a 72 hour hold and released. Again, she is a adult and the hospital would not have the right to hold an adult against her will. (I wish I could say the same for little Sandra)

    As far as being a petty thief. If you have mental illness and are unable to seek medical attention for what ever reason (recent bankrupcy). I am not sure how much help the State of California gives to persons with mental illness, but it would be easy to commit a crime, plead guilty for reasons of insanity and have your medical bills and medications paid for by the courts.

    B, as stated in my previous comment, I am not trying to defend MH. I am simply all too aware of how extremely flawed our system is.

    Lastly, lets look at the facts here, MH is now in Tracy, CA with some court appointed doctors and new pysch meds. Mental illness does not necessarially mean she is ignorant. You put a halfway intelligent person on the wrong medication and you have a combination that can be deadly. So horribly sad that in this case we know the outcome.

  12. FairestWitness says:

    Time and again we find that killers like Melissa Huckaby have criminal histories that should have put them behind bars, yet they seem to slip through the criminal justice system with nary a scratch.

    Where have we heard of arson being in a killer’s past? Two years ago, a massacre occurred on the campus of Virginia Tech. The mass murderer, Seung-Hui Cho, had previously set his dorm on fire, yet he skated on those charges. He had mental problems which included being a danger to himself and others. He was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder known as selective mutism in middle school, as well as depression.

    After setting the fire he wasn’t expelled, he was ordered to undergo psychiatric treatment, but because of privacy laws, his diagnosis was not passed along to the university that sent him for help. And then he murdered 32 students and faculty and wounded 25 more, before committing suicide.

    Now we come back to Melissa Huckaby; who had already broken enough laws that should have put her in prison, but LE did relatively little to her. And now we have a sexually assaulted, murdered little girl to answer for.

    Folks, we are not punishing serious crimes when they are committed. Because the criminals are not held to account, their lawlessness continues to escalate until they perpetrate something horrific. How many people would have been spared had LE in Virginia prosecuted Seung-Hui Cho? How about ALL 57 of his victims????

    The same goes for Melissa Huckaby. If she had been held to account, by that I mean SENT TO PRISON, for her crimes, Sandra Cantu would be alive and outside happily skipping like she did on the day she died.

    We must stop coddling and protecting criminals, making up and accepting lame ass excuses for their lawlessness. We must send folks who break the law to jail. I don’t give a hoot about WHY they do what they do. I only care that they pay a heavy price for breaking the law.

    How many innocent lives would be saved by this? Who knows the number, but it would be a very big number.

  13. obliquity says:

    I’m trying to understand this correctly — the restraining order that MH took out against Josh Palmer also named LL, as in he was required to stay away from her as well?

    IMHO, MH has suffered a lot of abuse in her life, starting in early childhood. Regardless of gender, if you delve deep enough into a serial killer’s or murderer in an especially heinous crime life, you will usually (almost always) find moderate to severe abuse in the background of the perp. In no way does that excuse MH, but it might help explain why she did what she did, and motivate society to take better care of our children so that we can prevent not only the ramifications of the abuse for those that experience it, but to also prevent further abuse. There are so many studies that show abused children, specifically sexually abused children, are at extremely high risk to become abusers as adults.

    I just think when all is said and done the truth about MH’s life is going to be nauseating. And, I don’t buy for a second that MH killed SC at the church because of the privacy it afforded. Accidental death or not, that MH took SC there in the first place to commit whatever sick act is extremely telling and symbolic.

    No, Lane Lawless was named as an outcry witness in the complaint, meaning Melissa used statments that Josh Palmer threated him as well as her.

  14. Jen in RI says:

    I believe it was said the the other child that was drugged was Sinclair’s child? not sure where I read that.
    The comment Gramma Lawless made about the abuse —before the abuse was made public–really bothers me. Given the fact that Melissa asked Sandra’s older sister to “keep an eye on Madison ” while she went to the church..Why would she ask someone to watch her child when gramma was there? Maybe it’s Gramma we should be looking at under the microscope not Grampa?? Maybe grampa doesnt want his family secrets out on the line, maybe there is a long line of mental illness with the women in the lawless family? Just wondering if anyone else has thought about this?

  15. sweetpea says:

    I missed something here. The home that MH moved to in Paloma. Was her daughter there with her, if not where was she? Housemate Evelyn Lloyd stated “that every girl there had a story” What kind of home was it, a homeless shelter, abused women shelter or for the mentally ill. I tend to lean toward the latter due to the fact that Ms. Lloyd resided there for 12 years.

    Most homeless and abused women shelters are short term. Homes for the mentally ill are normally established for the long term residents.
    It was in LaPalma.
    I could not find anything about a subsidization, but I agree Lloyd’s statments make me think it was some sort of halfway residence.

  16. coolio says:

    FairestWitness, I agree with your general sentiment, but am surprised your emphasis is on the arson. We don’t know enough details about those two fires other than she was a person of interest. We also know first fire had to be small since they were all still living in the house 8 days later.

    Even if she was responsible for the fires, she probably would not have been jailed very long (if even at all) if no one was injured or killed as a result.

    What I have a real problem with is fact cops so easily dismissed fact this other girl (presumably Sandra)was drugged while in her care and was not thoroughly investigated just b/c Mom had alcohol on her breath and a drug on her person? This just infuriates me.

    MH and this girl lived in the same trailer park and by them essentially ignoring it, it allowed MH to do it again to a child she readily had access to and gave her a false belief she would not be punished for it. So she did it again and look what happened…

    And then to tell family don’t comment on it as part of the investigation? Can we say going in cya mode?

    A thorough investigation of MH drugging a child and possible restraining order that would have essentially forced her to move away from the trailer park most likely would have prevented this from happening. At least to Sandra, who knows if she would have done to someone else, but future conduct may very well have been different if she had record of being investigated and possibly punished vs. essentially being given a free pass to do it again.

    I agree with obliquity once we learn the truth about everything it will be nauseating.

  17. coolio says:

    this is now being reported re: 7 year old girl drugged in Jan:

    “She couldn’t stand up without help. She couldn’t walk. Every time she’d try to walk, she’d fall,” said the girl’s 18-year-old sister, who spoke to CBS 5 on the condition that her name not be used.

    Does anyone know did Sandra have an 18 year old sister?

    Here is article:

    It is not her. I was skeptical as well, but it was not Sandra

  18. Nancy says:

    i found this new story regarding melissa huckaby on the “people” website. it states that huckaby abducted another child from the orchard estates mobile park and drugged her before she abducted sandra cantu. do we know anything else about this? if this is true, why wasn’t she charged with kidnapping and endangering a child before?

    it also states that the court will rule out huckaby’s lawyer’s request to exhume sandra’s body for more examitation.

    here’s the link to the story.,,20273817,00.html

  19. Scoop says:

    Palmer… another name I came up with.

    What kind of record does he have?

    Scoop, he is clearly mentioned in the piece, and his record?

  20. Sue B says:


    1. Tracy Police Department is claiming no one else is involved in Sandra’s death to put the accomplices off their guard, as they gather the evidence they need to charge them; or

    2. Some person/persons very high up in the TPD or Dept of Justice is in this so thick they need to keep everyone focused on MH so they don’t get found out.

    It doesn’t take a grade eight student to tell you that MH would have a hard time shoplifting a box of kleenex successfully. For her to be successful in abducting another human being — as if.

    I hate to say this but the fact that the department did not take serious steps to either arrest or at a minimum shadow MH the second it was evident that a 7 year old in her charge came home late at night drugged – quite probably by her — well it stinks. It stinks to high heaven.

  21. Sally says:

    I really agree with the point some of you have made about the significance of MH being suicidal in sixth grade. That’s what, age 12! Not a lot older than the age Sandra Cantu was! Or the seven year old. If we could find out what happened to MH that caused her to be suicidal as early as sixth grade, it would provide really valuable information for this case.

    Also, related to what Sue B. has said in #16, what we saw was that MH wasn’t in any way successful in getting away with her crime. And she did any number of things to call attention to herself afterward, the suicide attempt, etc. She was, afterall, arrested less than two weeks after Sandra Cantu’s death.

  22. Sue B says:

    Oops – clarification. I don’t believe that acting alone MH would have been able to rip off a box of kleenex let alone abduct and kill a human being. I agree with Sally that MH she wasn’t ‘successful’ in ‘getting away with her crime’. I just don’t think that by herself she would have been successful in carrying out the crime to the degree that it was carried out.

  23. MackiezMom says:

    As an adult who survived a childhood in the underclass, I have been privy to LE treating situations that occur in lessor neighborhoods differently than in more affluent neighborhoods.

    I am so … let down … and saddened … and shocked that a police officer would drop an investigation into how a child was drugged based upon some judgement that was made against the mother. If the mother had drugged her daughter, the child should have been removed by CPS immediately. The fact that the mother gave a clear and discernible description of the perp, and that LE just blew it off is inexcusable. If TPD had done their job in January, Sandra Cantu would be alive today.

    Get ready for a law suit, Tracy. And the church. And the grandparents. Wrongful death, with mitigating circumstances. Probably looking at puni’s for TPD.

    The message needs to be that ALL CHILDREN ARE VALUABLE. They are our greatest treasures… much more valuable than material wealth.

    And a druggie’s child, an achoholic’s child, anyone’s child….ALL VALUABLE. ALL DESERVE TO BE PROTECTED. TO SERVE AND PROTECT. TPD YOU FAILED.

  24. babyfacemagee says:

    Regarding the grandparents stepping in. I agree in a perfect world everyone would be self aware and have the proper perspective of a given situation to see when behavior starts to hint of being dangerous. The reality is that denial is very much part of human nature. People see what they want to see to affirm their own well being. It is very difficult for someone within a family to not succomb to denial when things beging to go wrong with someone they are so close to. For one thing it is usually a gradual process. It is sort of like losing weight. If you see someone every day you don’t notice the weight being lost. If you left for 6 months and came back you’d notice a huge difference. Distance gives perspective. Closeness blinds us.

  25. Greg says:

    Nancy Grace says, On Jan 17, a 7year old was kidnapped bye MH in the same trailer park. MH returned the girl 7hours later. No charges! NUTS!

  26. KellyBear says:

    according to the Tracy Press article “Huckaby tied to Jan missing girl report” – a doctor found benzodiazepines — a muscle relaxant — in the girl’s bloodstream

    Someone on the forum pointed out that benzodiazepines can also be used before certain medical procedures where tension and anxiety are present in order to induce sedation and amnesia for the procedure.

    SEDATION & AMNESIA???? I read somewhere online that the young girl was taken to the hospital because she couldn’t even stand on her own. I don’t suppose the same doctor also performed a physical exam to determine if she had been sexually assaulted.

    What was MH doing with this young girl for 4 hours? I suppose it was an accident/coincidence that this little girl was given drugs to induce amnesia & sedation and appeared to be dropped off by MH’s vehicle and just happened to live IN THE SAME TP?

  27. dddeerma says:

    Well, practically everyone else has noted what I wanted to say. So I will just reiterate the fact that LE in Tracy had a child drugged to the point of hospital treatment, but declined to investigate because they did not like the child’s mother. Since when can police ignore serious crimes against children because the family involved is less than socially acceptable. The officers who wrote off that first drugging and abduction should be in big time trouble. Also, the age of 12 is just ripe for certain pedophiles. Had MH been molested at that time? Does the fact she involved the church in her crimes point to the person she wanted to incriminate? Thanks for the updates, Blink.

  28. cljky says:

    Melissa’s suicide threats beginning in sixth grade sounds like she may have been abused. Why else would someone in sixth grade start feeling so horrible that they would threaten suicide, thats not normal for a child that age….I think the family should be thoroughly investigated….theres more behind this story and I cant help but think that Melissa has done what was done to her….in the audio clip Nancy Grace played on her show last night Melissa tells a reporter that her grandmother called her and said “bring the girl back her family doesnt know she is missing, i mean is gone”….this is speaking of the girls that was missing for a few hours in Jan. and then brought home by Huckaby and had drugs in her system….sounds like she knew she was being looked at and was trying to give a defense right away….but lied and contradicted herself….Im thinking if this particular case was investigated in Jan more thorougly that Melissa wouldnt have been able to harm Sandra, this is so sad.

  29. cljky says:

    Above is the link to last nights episode of Nancy Grace….makes it obvious, most likely Sandra was drugged, sexually abused, and Im thinking she probably accidently overdosed, and Melissa tried to cover it up by stashing the body in the suitcase….this is so sickening, this shows that Melissa is obviously a “repeat” offender and most likely this would have continued if Sandra hadnt have accidently died……this is crazy, disturbing to say the least.

  30. JmBrdy says:

    There is definitely something deeply wrong with a 6th grader contemplating death. I agree it is much more than lack of attention from mommy. That intense feeling of worthlessness that bred a dire fate can be linked to some pretty heavy experiences.

    I do find it interesting that MH included Lane in the order against Palmer. Was Palmer threatening the two OR did Palmer get close enough to see what could be going on between the two? Was the order a defensive move to protect ‘themselves’ from someone getting too close?

    Setting fires to a half-way house. Wow. What gain would she have gotten? If she was jealous of the owner and wanted to take from her what she had (ie stability, a house, the ability to assist those in need)? Theft, same sort of motive, taking from those who have ‘more’ than she, rationalizing that others don’t ‘need’ what she should have. I suppose it could be connected that young vibrant happy children don’t ‘need’ what she wishes she would have had. Innocence, love, lightheartedness. And why would other parents deserve to enjoy that aspect of a child. She could never enjoy that in her own daughter if she could never find within the ability to connect with those feelings. She seems to revel in taking from others what she deems they don’t deserve.

    She’s the purveyor of what she finds JUST. She waves a sneaky middle finger to society and those she envies by burning their homes, stealing their children, stealing items from their businesses, and ultimately stealing the innocence from children (as was possibly done to her). This sort of puts all of them on an equal level to her (in her mind).

    I also think there are a few reasons Lane would consider not visiting his granddaughter. Either he is disgusted and believes her guilty or he is protecting himself so as not to say or do anything that would incriminate himself. I know he’s not a ‘suspect’, but darn I find the area in which the crime happened (HIS CHURCH) to be possibly symbolic and perhaps an outcry.

  31. Mrsmcgoo says:

    First off, thank you so much for this site! Thank you for your thorough work! Awesome!

    I am so disgusted with the family for allowing the ticking time bomb of a life to continue. So many signs overlooked and apparently excused. I think we are just hearing a tip of the iceberg at this point.

    I am extrememly upset that LE were aware of MH taking a girl for 4 hours, returning her with drugs in her system and not charging MH. I want to hear an explanation from the officer who took the complaint, that officer needs to be reprimanded and if he or she has an ounce of feeling in their body, shoule be feeling some form of responsiblity for Sandra’s death. If they had done their job in January, Sandra would not be dead. Shame on people in law inforcement who do not follow their own rules and let criminals and sick people like Sandra slip by. It is our children that are the victims here, innocent children.

  32. new says:

    Grandfather lawless will have a lot to say when this is over? What? This for me is a red flag. MH seems to punish herself for her activities. Attemped razor blade suicide, perhaps the fires where also an attempt to punish after a deed done in LaPalma. You will burn in Hell. Religious background reference. Be interesting if any chiildren missing or complaints at the time there. Seems like she has wanted to die since sixth grade. I believe that MH was sexually abused by a woman in authority when she was very young until perhaps she got pregnant and left her home. Pregancy definance against religious teaching, way of escape from home or looking for love. She accused a law enforcement person of rape, a person in authority. The authority figure is interesting. From your information this was proven false? I agree LE dropped the ball with the drugging of the child in Jan. I have a sick feeling that Madison is with MH’s Mother. DCFs should have Madison in their care. The families immediate statements about her being a good Mother have me looking at them with squinted eyes. An expression of disbelief yes, but protectionisms after their knowledge of their daughters troubled life does not wash with me. Shades of the Anthony’s protecting their own image.

  33. new says:

    Mental illness is usually covered financially by Social Security Financially if applied for. Her child would also receive some financial subsidy. Think this applies to every State. If she was confined to any Mental facility she would have needed child care either her parents or DCF would have taken the child. So parents would have been aware of incident.

  34. kuaitzudog says:

    one thing that bothers me is that MH was ordered to mental health counseling for petty theft? is it because of WHAT she stole, and not just that she stole. Usually a petty theft charge does not warrant mental health help? just wondering out loud.

  35. coolio says:

    Blink, thanks for clarifying it was not Sandra. Age and size of child are same. Scary. I trust you do know who it is, but are just protecting child/family from being attacked by the media?

    Tracypress is presumably accurately reporting police logs noted alcohol on mom’s breath and drug on her, while other media are trying to excuse Tracy police by saying matter was “dropped b/c couldn’t prove MH gave her drugs given amount of time that had elapsed”

    SOMEHOW that child ingested the drugs. Pretty shitty police work if they supposedly couldn’t figure out how ingested or who administered when she was only in the presence of MH and her family. If family member hurts a child, they typically don’t take the child to a doctor unless they are seriously hurt or near death as they know any suspected abuse will be investigated. So, if alcohol and drug use was a concern, did they properly investigate the Mom? Sorry, it was MH or family and something should have been done in Jan.

    If playing at park for 4 hours, child was presumably given something to drink so you would have the act of giving something already established. I’m also wondering if doctors examined her to to see whether any type of sexual abuse occurred.

    babyface, very good point about gradual process and distance gives perspective while closeness blinds us. I wonder if grandparents knew about the former drugging incident.

  36. new says:

    Blink Casey and Melissa same face of sadness Lol. Thank you for your updates.

  37. sweetpea says:

    I also watched Nancy Grace last night. I must admit I was a regular
    follower. But since I recently discovered your site, it has astounded me how far behind her news program is in getting truthful information to the public. Last night they were outright stating that Sandra was the girl drugged in Jan. there was more misinformation but I can’t remember it all. I must admit I really haven’t been watching much lately, so last night when I did watch and realized how misinformed I had been I just had to let you know how much I appreciate what you have given to us through Blink on Crime. Thank you

    TY, but I have to say I did not hear them say it was actually Sandra, if they did I missed it. The child was a playmate of Sandra’s yes.

  38. sweetpea says:

    You are correct about the social security coverage for mental illness.
    But the individual must have been diagnosed, applied and approved by Social Security. This is a very long and difficult process.

    Moving around as MH did is not condusive to giving a doctor enough
    time to make a thorough diagnosis or for MH to be placed in the system
    (paper trail).

  39. sweetpea says:

    Kuaitzudog, I believe I read here BOC (one of the past articles) that MH had pleaded guilty for reasons of insanity. That is why the judge ordered a mental evaluation and treatment.

    Not exactly sweetpea, she said she was incompetent to stand trial for the charges. She was evaluated by 2 med professionals and was diagnosed with an undisclosed mental issue. She was then required to plea and as a condition of her probation had to participate in the mental Health program recommended for her.

  40. sweetpea says:

    I am referring to MH’s past theft charges

    yes, sweetpea, as was I, in my response to you. :)

  41. sweetpea says:

    I was referring to MH’s past theft charges.

  42. sweetpea says:

    B- thanks for the clarification. I am somewhat at a loss here. What does “Incompetent to stand trial” mean? By what standards does one make that plea? Just asking I may want to use that in the future, LOL

    legal definition is unable to participate in your own defense. Not of sound mind to understand or contemplate the charges against you, in a nut shell. She had a PD, so I have to say for a petty theft charge she must have been pretty noticably “off” to even be granted the evaluation. The more I hear the sicker I feel about this girl.

  43. sweetpea says:

    Thank you for the definition. I to am sicken, I truly believe that
    this is a perfect example of how twisted our system is founded.

    I agree with all those who feel that if MH had been arrested and placed in a mental facility back in January for the abduction of the other 7 year old, Sandra would be alive today.

    Truly, who spends 4 hours in a park with children anyway. As for the mother of the child that was missing having alcohol on her breath. Let me tell you, if my 7 year old was missing, you would have had to pick my drunk bottom up off the floor.

    This was definately a case of PROFILING against these people. If Donald Trump’s child had been missing and could not walk due to drug comsumption when brought home. Someone would be in jail and the key would have been thrown away.

  44. kelli says:

    Could this be a case of Multiple Personality Disorder?
    Could The Psych Med’s Side Effects have played a Role in This?
    Does She have a Boyfriend>? Where is he>?

    Multiple Personality as I understand it, your brain creates charachters when different situations arise and sends out one of them for the appropriate situation, when one goes out to handle the problem the rest watch or go to sleep. after sit is over, the real you may come back out and not realize what the other personality done.
    A type of amnesia,

    If she had this it would explain to me why she would be crying in court and be expressing remorse.


    so I theorize.

  45. coolio says:

    sweetpea, I agree on the NG being behind comment. Blink revealed the previous drugging incident to us way back when MH’s involvement was first made public.

    Many of us here have since theorized Sandra possibly died from an accidental drug overdose.

    Blink, good job on your investigating and kudos to Ms. Jennifer Wadsworth too. She is doing a great job here and I hope she will be rewarded with job offers as her stint at Tracy press is only an internship – so probably not even paid.
    Thanks Coolio.
    I certainly hope she is getting paid, and I agree she is doing a great job, she’s a newbie and getting better info than the Vets.. I LOVE THAT

  46. mamacrazy30 says:

    i wonder if in the petty theft charges the judge asked her something along the lines of did you have the money to purchase said item MH ‘yes’. so why did you steal it MH ‘i don’t know’. do you know why you are here today ‘i don’t know’. i just have a feeling that most of MH statements will consist of an i don’t know, or i don’t remember, or it was an accident. other than the ‘confession’ at the pd which personally i would like to read, everything she told reporters prior to her arrest put her in the picture but was still covering her ass. she strikes me as the snarkey kind of person who would gladly do the crime but when trial comes she ”won’t know what happened’ or ‘doesn’t remember’ she just ‘won’t understand’ this will surely turn into a poor me pity party.

  47. John Tate says:

    There’s that whole thing where she wouldn’t let her child go to other people’s homes and insisted their children come to her house. You can read all sorts of things into that. #1-She was personally aware of how easy abuse could go on. #2-She wanted easy access to other children.

  48. Gypsy DD says:

    Well Blink..from our own personal discussions you know I agree..parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have to take a well as others who see something that just doesn’t fit. It does take a village to raise a child..unfortunately most of America likes to hide behind blinders..then at a later date come forward and say I knew something wasn’t right there.

    We all stand accountable for our young they newborn or 17 years old…no looking away….the children are our future..look at what we are harvesting.

    My dear Gypsy is too modest to tell you she speaks from walking the walk, I say proudly.

  49. sweetpea says:

    I am home sick today with obviously to much time on my hands, but something just came to me and I want to run it by you.

    MH spent 4 hours with the little girl she suppossibly took to the park and 1 hour with Sandra. I wonder if she accidentally overdosed Sandra and then took her to the church, tried to make it look like she had been molested, so that when the body was found the authorities would be searching for a man. The other girl spent all that time with Sandra and no evidence of sexual abuse. I find it odd, if she is truly a child molester, it appears she had more opportunity with the first girl.

    What is your take here?

    I would have to be able to confirm that it truly was only one hour Melissa was away from the house. I personally do not belive that.

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