NBC Bay Area
8-year-old Sandra Cantu was last seen wearing a "Hello Kitty" T-shirt, a striped skirt and black leggings.
It's a day family and friends should be celebrating a little girl's ninth birthday, but instead they'll be gathering to remember her short life.
Family members of Sandra Cantu will gather March 8 to remember the young Central Valley girl whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase in an irrigation pond almost a year ago.
A cousin of Sandra's mother is planning the family gathering as a way for the family to focus on their love for the little girl and thank volunteers who aided in the search in 10 the following her disappearance.
"This is something simple," Janet Anderson told the Tracy Press, "that might be a good way of not concentrating on such a horrible time, but what she represents."
Just as they did after Sandra disappeared, the community is coming together to pitch in on the celebration.
Sunday school teacher Melissa Huckaby is charged with kidnapping, rape, murder and lewd and lacivious acts on a child stemming from Sandra's death in the case that grabbed national headlines.