Accused killer's family: We're mystified

The Associated PressApril 13, 2009 

— Relatives of a Sunday school teacher arrested in the killing of an 8-year-old girl found stuffed into a suitcase said Sunday they are baffled by the accusations against the woman they know as a loving, single parent.

Among the family members present was Huckaby's grandfather, Clifford Lawless, who is pastor of the nearby Clover Road Baptist Church, which was searched by authorities after the girl's body was discovered.

Sandra Cantu's body was found in Huckaby's suitcase in an irrigation pond nearly a week ago, police said.

Huckaby is the mother of the slain girl's best friend. The motive in the killing had not been determined.

Huckaby, 28, was on suicide watch at the San Joaquin County Jail, where she remained in custody Sunday without bail on suspicion of kidnapping and killing Sandra.

Huckaby taught Sunday school at her grandfather's church and lived with him in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park that also was Sandra's home.

Huckaby's uncle, John Hughes Jr. of Whittier, told The Associated Press his niece was from a good home, but had hit a rough patch in her life and had moved in with her grandparents in Tracy to get past her troubles.

"She's had her struggles," he said. "But there's no way [her grandparents] or anybody would be fearful that anything this horrifying could possibly come from that."

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