Memorial planned for Sandra Cantu's birthday
by Cassie Tomlin/ TP staff
Feb 14, 2010 | 4214 views | 6 6 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A tribute to Sandra Cantu sprang up after her disappearance in 2009. A memorial in her memory will be March 8. Press file photo
A tribute to Sandra Cantu sprang up after her disappearance in 2009. A memorial in her memory will be March 8. Press file photo
A little girl who relatives say was happy every day of her life would want everyone else to be happy on what would’ve been her ninth birthday.

So on March 8, the family of Sandra Cantu will celebrate her memory at Robert Kenner Park next to Jacobson Elementary School, where she was a student.

Janet Anderson, a cousin of Maria Chavez, Sandra’s mother, said she’s spearheading the small public get-together so her family has something to look forward to.

She said as the anniversary of the little girl’s death approaches, Sandra’s family wants to focus on their love for her.

“This is something simple that might be a good way of not concentrating on such a horrible time, but what she represents,” she said.

Anderson said the celebration is also a way to thank countless volunteers.

Hundreds of locals helped the police and the FBI search for Sandra in the more than a week she was missing, and so many more supported the family through a trying year, she said.

“I personally think the family would’ve never made it without the community support,” she said. “They stepped up to the plate, from the littlest things to the biggest things. I’ve never seen a community come together so much, and I’ve lived here 17 years.”

Tracy police chaplain Don Higgins will speak, and cupcakes, donated by a local business, will be served.

Higgins said the “phenomenal” way people came together shows Tracy’s community-oriented spirit.

“Sandra was the epitome, in a lot of people’s minds, of innocence, and that which we need to protect,” he said. “I think it really speaks to how this community views children and that we’re willing to go to great extremes to take care of them, protect them and watch out for them.”

Sandra disappeared last March from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park, where she lived. Ten days later, her body was found inside a suitcase floating in an irrigation pond north of town.

Melissa Huckaby, a neighbor whose daughter used to play with Sandra, is awaiting trial on homicide, rape and kidnapping charges, and could face the death penalty if convicted.

At a glance

• WHAT: Remembrance Ceremony for Sandra Cantu

• WHEN: 7 p.m. March 8

• WHERE: Robert Kenner Park, 1850 Kavanaugh Ave.

• INFO: 321-5981
Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 17, 2010
Me and my girls will be there for her birthday! What a beautiful young girl, she is always, and will always be in our thoughts and prayers. I think that letting the community be apart of this special day is a great step to healing for us all.
February 15, 2010

Sweet Sandra,

We may never know, why you were taken

But on that day, please know you were not forsaken

Hundreds of people looked and prayed

Thousands of posters with your face made.

The candle vigils held in the park

The light burning bright in the dark

We gather to pray and sing your favorite song

“Somewhere out there” could we right this wrong?

Then the news none of us wanted to hear

You were found, all of us shedding tears

Strangers now friends hold one another tight

You had brought us together for one last night.

May God hold your family and friends of yours close

It is your mommy who will miss you the most

Rest peacefully sweet Sandra, and feel our love

We will always remember our angel above.

February 15, 2010
It made no sence at all to harm somebody like her. I hope the family will heal enough to live out life normaly and any grief they feel will go away.
February 15, 2010
Seeing the video of Sandra's last carefree moments was seared into my soul, she will never be forgotten by those who took her tragic story to heart.

Just so sad for the family, and praying for justice/closure for the Cantu family.

The light of Sandra Cantu has gone out, but the love she gave during her short life will remain.

God Bless All Of You.

February 15, 2010
I see alot of funerals because of where I live.

I saw her tiny little coffin in the horse drawn carriage.That was too much.

Then, I saw the carriage leave empty.

I will always be effected.

I can't imagine what her family is going through.

My thoughts and prayers.
February 14, 2010
Excellent idea by the family and the organizers.

I'm sure Sandra is very proud of her family.

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