Sandra Cantu Case: Reward Given To Farm Worker

Posted by BOC Staff | Amber Alert,Bizarre Crime,Missing Child,Missing Persons,Murdered,Sandra Cantu | Sunday 10 May 2009 10:36 pm

Tracy, CA–  The Dairy Worker who attempted to retrieve the remains of 8 year old Sandra Cantu, Jose Luis Franco, has been rewarded.

In a last minute decision to not appear publicly, and a in a private ceremony Thursday morning, Franco was presented with ,643 in reward money for reporting seeing a large black suitcase floating in a dairy farm irrigation ponds where he is employed, on April 6.

On Wednesday Tracy police issued a press release inviting the media to a public ceremony to honor Franco while he received his reward, but he apparently changed his mind on Thursday morning and opted for a private ceremony.

“He’s an average individual that doesn’t want the spotlight,” said Webb. “He’s very concerned about how this could affect him and his family.”

Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said during the press conference that “cases involving missing children are very difficult and never easy to solve.”

The reward was presented on behalf of the Carrington/Sund Foundation.

Scott Webb, executive of the Carrington/Sund Foundation:

“He still came forward and did not hesitate,” said Scott Webb, executive director of the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation, which publicizes missing persons cases and provides support for the families of missing people. “This signifies how a case can change based on one person’s information — one man’s decision to make the right choice brought closure to a grieving family.”


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  2. Jaelin says:

    “Franco, 40, initially declined the reward, saying he wanted the money to be given to Sandra Cantu’s family. However, because of the foundation’s bylaws, the money must go directly to him.”

    I had heard that he refused the reward at first, which I thought was very noble of him, but thought it odd and kinda sleazy that he had changed his mind. This clears that up, so I think it’s important for people to know.

    I also think it’s very smart and classy on his part not to have a public ceremony to present the reward for dignity and safety reasons.

  3. Brenda in Virginia says:

    Yes, this man could have just as easily dismissed the suitcase as trash and thrown it away….or been afraid of any attention and not said a word. Many are not willing to do the right thing these days, and it’s good to know not eveyone is willing to turn their head the other way in the face of such a tragedy.

    We hear many stories of people being attacked or whatever right out in the open and NO one will step in to help. Or terrible things happening and witnesses too afraid to come forward. Knowing he is to spend the money for his children’s education makes giving him the reward (IMO) a nice memorial in a way for Sandra who also had her whole life ahead of her and would probably want to see his children have this opportunity for his good deed.

  4. D.C. says:

    I thought that prior information was that the suitcase was weighed down and wasnt found until the pond was drained. This is odd that he said that it was floating- just odd IMO.

    They did not see it “floating” until the pond was drained, then he drug it to the side and realized he could not pick it up, and by his account, felt it might be Sandra so he alerted his manager who phoned police. I would really love it if someone with irrigation pond/farm experience would drop in and tell us how those ponds are routinely filled and drained and the associated rotation. That was my long way of saying.. is the date of the pond drain relevent to the investigation.

  5. Lovejac says:

    Oh Blink, I was hoping when I checked your site today there would some good news. I’m so glad he received the reward. Given what poor Roy Kronk has gone through, it’s amazing that this man got involved.

    right? I didn’t have the heart after this weekend in the Holley case to do more sad. Just could not.
    I agree.

  6. Red Ranger says:

    In recent years there have been numerous cases where rewards have been offered and then not give when a citizen steps up and provides the information needed. I am not suggesting that a reward should be the only reason to do the right thing. I am suggesting that to refuse to give the reward on a pissant technicality, then allow the Kronks of the world to get beat down is wrong.

    I also have seen a lot of comments on many sites that demean anyone who accepts a reward. I see absolutely nothing wrong with accepting a reward that is offered when information is turned in that solves the crime. I am glad this farm hand was given the reward that was offered.

  7. mamacrazy30 says:

    mama I deleted this comment and I know you will not mind why- that article will never appear on my site, nor will I allow the contents of it to be discussed here. Those comments DID NOT come from Mr. Cantu and there was not a single source in it. Mr. Cantu may have a past, but his daughter was brutally assaulted and murdered and I will NOT have her or her family subjected to further victimization here. Again, you did nothing wrong-

  8. Cindy says:

    A reward is a reward. He is entitled to it just like anyone else. i’m glad he never tampered with evidence. And perhaps he secretly gave it to the family. We’ll never know. I know at first he wanted to give it to the family. And God bless mr. Cantu. my father worked with him at a dog food company. He was a very caring person. Also i met him after he had Sandra and she was all he talked about. So I feel a special connection to this case. Thank you Blink.

    Thank you Cindy, it was kind of you to say that about Mr. Cantu.

  9. Jaelin says:

    I wanted to clarify my post in case their was any misunderstanding. I fully believe he is entitled to the reward and I am glad he accepted it. What I was saying is that when I heard he had turned down the reward at first and then changed his mind and took it, I thought that was a little un-couth. However, now that I know the reasons for his actions, I understand completely.

  10. mamacrazy30 says:

    i sssooo do not take it he wrong way. I DO understand completely…what was put out does put Mr. Cantu in a bad light (with the whole ‘I have ties that go way back yada, yada, yada.’ i guess i just wanted to give ya’ a ‘heads-up’ on whats out there. Thank you for having the sense to moderate the responses. and if ya’ don’t want to post this (cause it gives an idea) i understand that too. Keep fightn’ the good fight girl! (BTW…i would hate for someone to dig into my past as well).


  11. charms726 says:

    so about that comment that was posted and then was taken off, was it about mr. cantu having said something about “taking care of” someone?? just wanna clarify. im always on here trying to see what else has developed with this case.
    Not sure, but it contained false information about Sandras case.

  12. coney says:

    There was an undated article in the Tracy Press that I copied to my hard drive in hopes of posting it to scared monkeys. It has been almost a month without approval and now I cannot seem to access the article online any longer. Since it concerned the owner of the Silva Dairy and includes the name of her herdsman which is Jim Gomes I thought it might be of interest to the researchers. I will paste what I have here in hopes that you can pass it along.

    In the Spotlight Print E-mail

    A Tracy dairy queen continues a family tradition.

    Glenn Moore/Our Town
    Most people dread Monday mornings. They’re the tunnel at the end of the light.

    Ann Silva loves them.

    She’s worked in the same business her entire life, but she won’t acknowledge any monotony. Silva, a dairy farmer and lifelong Tracy resident, enjoys waking up in the morning not knowing what exactly the day has in store.

    She’s likely going to love waking up Thursday, when she will be recognized for her contributions to agriculture at the Common Threads award ceremony at the University of California, Davis.

    At first, Silva shied away from the award. When she got the phone call informing her about it, she asked if she could decline it.

    “I didn’t think that I was there yet,” Silva said.

    She said she would rather have it go to the people who helped make her what she is today.

    Like her husband, Mario Silva, who died nearly four years ago after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Like her manager, Peter Corallo, and her herdsman, Jim Gomes, who took on extra hours and extra duties while Ann tried to piece things together.

    Like her parents, Lino and Frances Bacchetti, who inspired her to become a dairy farmer, and have since passed away.

    “This award is one that I want to share with like 15 people,” Silva said. “In this industry, you definitely just move on. You figure out what you need to do today and what you need to do tomorrow. You just keep moving.

    “The business goes on — life goes on. These people made sure I kept moving on.”

    Silva is the main operator of Bacchetti & Silva Dairy, a Tracy institution since 1944. Silva’s grandparents came to America from Italy in 1927, living in Humboldt County first, then buying a ranch here 17 years later. Now, the 900-cow dairy farm encompasses three ranches and 320 acres.

    She has been instrumental in every part of the farm. Silva “sleeps in” until 6 a.m. and tends to the cows, and then she cleans up to work on the financial part later in the day. She has no brothers, so she learned how to do all the hands-on dirty jobs as a child. Since then, Silva has had no work but dairy farming.

    “It’s an adventure,” Silva said. “It’s what I’ve known, and I always say that if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. I have never worked a day in my life — not one.”
    • In the Spotlight is a weekly profile in Our Town. To nominate someone to be In the Spotlight or to comment on this week’s column, call Our Town Editor Justin Lafferty at 830-4269 or e-mail e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

    Meet Ann Silva

    Age: 50

    How long in Tracy: 50 years

    Occupation: Dairy farmer, Bacchetti & Silva Dairy

    Education: Tracy High School and San Joaquin Delta College

    Family: Late husband, Mario Silva

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