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Archive for April 2009

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Missing since March 27 Friday found 10 days after, today at around 10am in a large suitcase in a pond 2 miles away from her home.

Missing Tracy girl, Sandra Cantu, found dead in farm pond

Tracy officials late Monday confirmed the community’s worst fear: A large black container found in a farm pond contained the body of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, missing from her home since March 27.
At an evening news conference, Tracy Police Chief Janet Thiessen said officials took the bag to the San Joaquin County morgue about 5:40 p.m., where it was opened.
“Inside the bag we located the body of Sandra Cantu,” Thiessen said.
Sandra’s body was found in a drainage irrigation pond about 2 miles north of her home in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. The area had been searched twice previously, police said, but the pond had been full of water.
Workers doing routine draining at 10 a.m. saw the container and called police. Local officers and FBI agents swarmed the area surrounding Bacchetti Road northeast of the city.
The grim discovery puts an end to 10 days of waiting and searching. The Jacobson Elementary second-grader was last seen on a surveillance video near her home after playing at a friend’s house in the mobile home park. She was shown returning home just before 4 p.m. March 27, then walking away from the home a short time later. Police received a 911 call reporting her missing about 8 p.m. Friday.
Police searched every residence in the mobile home park and questioned drivers and searched car trunks at the neighborhood’s entrance. Sixteen regional law enforcement agencies, Tracy police and the FBI were involved in the search.

On Monday, at least 25 law enforcement officers spent the day at the scene collecting potential evidence. A coroner’s van arrived about 3 p.m.
It’s believed that the container was not in the pond when it was last drained, about two weeks ago. When workers noticed it, they thought it was suspicious and called police after pulling it over to the side of an embankment.
Since Sandra vanished, police have received more than 1,000 tips in the case.
An autopsy was expected to be completed today.
Jacobson Elementary and its district have received daily calls from parents whose children are having trouble sleeping and are suffering from bad dreams.

Mercury News Staff Writer Sandra Gonzales contributed to this report

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