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Guilty plea in death of 8-year-old

By the CNN Wire Staff
Melissa Huckaby pleaded guilty in the death of Sandra Cantu, 8, a friend of her daughter who disappeared in March 2009.
Melissa Huckaby pleaded guilty in the death of Sandra Cantu, 8, a friend of her daughter who disappeared in March 2009.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Melissa Huckaby pleaded guilty in the death of Sandra Cantu, a friend of her daughter
  • Sandra disappeared in Tracy, California, in March 2009
  • Her body found about 10 days later in a suitcase submerged in a pond
  • Huckaby was charged with murder, kidnapping, rape by instrument
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(CNN) -- A former Sunday School teacher pleaded guilty to murder Monday in the death of an 8-year-old girl, a court official said.

Melissa Huckaby pleaded guilty in the death of Sandra Cantu, a friend of her daughter's who disappeared in Tracy, California, in March 2009.

Her body was found about 10 days later in a suitcase submerged in a pond on a dairy farm.

Prosecutors had charged Huckaby with murder, kidnapping, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, and rape by instrument. They were seeking the death penalty.

Huckaby will face a sentence of from 25 years to life in prison without parole when she is sentenced June 14, said Sharon Morris, assistant administrator for San Joaquin County Superior Court.