Tracy Farmworkers Find Body of Sandra Cantu

Sandra Cantu Last Seen March 27

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Oakland Tribune/AP
    Sandra Cantu disappeared March 27 from a Tracy, California mobile home park.

    A sealed container was found in a San Joaquin County irrigation pond, and investigators announced the body of a missing Tracy child was inside.

    Investigators said they were able to identify Sandra's body based on the clothing she was last seen wearing.

    Police Announce Discovery of Girl's Body

    [BAY] Police Announce Discovery of Girl's Body
    Police were visibly shaken as they announced they had found the body of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu stuffed in a suitcase in a Tracy canal. (Published Tuesday, Apr 7, 2009)

    San Joaquin Sheriff's Department spokesman Les Garcia said the sealed container was considered a suspicious item from the moment it was discovered.  It's being described as a black suitcase. 

    Police made the sad announcement at a 9 p.m. news conference.

    "She Was Just Here One Minute and Gone the Next."

    [BAY] "She Was Just Here One Minute and Gone the Next."
    Even people who didn’t know 8-year-old Sandra Cantu are touched by news that the girl’s body was found stuffed in a suitcase in a pond near her house. (Published Tuesday, Apr 7, 2009)

    Police also searched a Baptist church Monday night in the area near the suitcase discovery.

    Officials in white suits removed the luggage from the pond shortly after 5 p.m. It was loaded into a van and driven to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office in French Camp.

    Sealed Container Probed in Tracy Disappearance

    [BAY] Sealed Container Probed in Tracy Disappearance
    A sealed container was found in a San Joaquin County irrigation pond, and investigators haven’t ruled out the possibility that it could be related to the disappearance of Sandra Cantu. (Published Monday, Apr 6, 2009)

    The farm crew that found it said it wasn't there when they filled the canal earlier.   The discovery was two miles from the little girl's home.

    A news helicopter flew over the area and found several police cars near three long ponds filled with brown water.  Police say they waited for an FBI recovery team because Tracy police do not have a recovery team.

    Cantu disappeared March 27 from a Tracy mobile home park.

    Police went to the Cantu's home to tell them about the discovery.   The family did not speak at the Monday night news conference.

    A farming operation found the container Monday morning while draining an irrigation pond by Bacchetti Road.  Several streets in the area were closed.

    Volunteers went out on their own after authorities over the weekend shut the doors at the fire station that had become the headquarters for the search for Sandra Cantu. 

    Police said the community has already been saturated with fliers featuring the child's photo.

    After about 300 volunteers and law enforcement officers fanned out across an area of open fields Saturday, a police spokesman says investigators are now focusing on leads that have been coming in since Sandra disappeared.

    Police have received more than 1,000 tips.

    Over the weekend, police released video surveillance footage showing the child skipping along a neighborhood street the same day she disappeared.

    Sandra's uncle, Joe Chavez told reporter Jodi Hernandez the family has a police chaplain with them. "We're praying there's nothing in there," he said Monday afternoon.

    An autopsy will be performed on Tuesday.