Judge Denies Release of Sandra Cantu Evidence

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    8-year-old Sandra Cantu was last seen wearing a "Hello Kitty" T-shirt, a striped skirt and black leggings.

    A judge has denied media requests to release details of the murder of an 8-year-old Northern California girl whose body was found in a suitcase.

    San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus on Monday denied requests from several news organizations. Lofthus said she wanted to "preserve the integrity of the case."

    Defendant Melissa Huckaby has pleaded guilty to killing her daughter's playmate, Sandra Cantu, last year. A gag order in the case prevents court records from being unsealed.

    Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, argue that Huckaby's guilty plea removes the need for a gag order. They argue that court records may help the public understand the plea agreement.

    Cantu's family opposes the request, which Lofthus says will be revisited after Huckaby is sentenced on June 14.