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Police to search church in slaying of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu

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  • NEW: Police imply person or persons involved in Sandra Cantu's death from area
  • Police plan to church near mobile park home where Sandra's family lived
  • Sandra was found in suitcase in a dairy-farm pond near her California home
  • Sandra had been missing since March 27 from her home in Tracy, California
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(CNN) -- Police said they are pursuing leads in the death of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was found Monday stuffed into a suitcase in a dairy-farm pond near her Tracy, California, home.

Sandra Cantu, 8, disappeared March 27. Her body was found at a dairy-farm pond near her Calilfornia home.

Sandra Cantu, 8, disappeared March 27. Her body was found at a dairy-farm pond near her Calilfornia home.

"We are heading in a direction," Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman told reporters. "To comment on that would compromise the investigation, and I can't do that."

A search warrant was executed at the Tracy mobile home park where the girl lived, and a related search was to be conducted Tuesday at a nearby church, he said.

He implied more than one person may have been involved in the death of Sandra, who had been missing since March 27.

"Investigators are looking at additional information they received since yesterday and, hopefully, that will lead us to Sandra's killers," he said.

Asked if his use of the plural meant police were looking for more than one person, he responded, "We have no specific suspects, ma'am."

Sheneman also implied the killer likely was familiar with the location where the body was found.

He said he himself was unfamiliar with the location where the girl's body was found, despite having lived in the community for nearly 12 years.

"Someone would have to be familiar with that area to know to go there," he said. Video Watch how the suitcase was found »

Sheneman said police had no one in custody, despite having interviewed hundreds of people regarding the case.

"Everyone that we speak to right now is being considered a person of interest," he said. "We're not eliminating anyone."

The autopsy was being conducted Tuesday, but it was not clear when the report would be available. "It's going to be some time before we hear from the coroner," Sheneman said. "I can't tell you when that's going to be."

More than 10 search warrants have been executed as part of the investigation and "a lot" of evidence has been recovered, Sheneman said.


The day Sandra was last reported seen, she returned home from school, kissed her mother and left to play with a friend who lives nearby. A short time later, wearing a pink Hello Kitty T-shirt and black leggings, she left to go to another friend's home, according to a family spokeswoman.

Police said Monday the girl's clothing helped them identify the body.

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