Friday, August 12, 2011

Child Predators

I watched a documentary sometime ago on channel E! titled "Women Who Kill". It featured several high-profile cases of grisly crimes committed by women. But the story that gripped me the most was the Sandra Cantu case.

Pic courtesy of mirror.co.uk
The kidnap, rape, and murder of 8-year old Sandra Cantu is old news. It happened way back in March 2009. But what shocked me the most was that the person who was found guilty of Sandra's rape and murder was a woman and not a man! And not just any woman off the street. Melissa Huckaby, 28, was a Sunday school teacher and single mother. Sandra was her daughter's playmate.

Huckaby in court
The gist of the crime

Sandra was last seen on surveillance video skipping down the street near her home at the Orchard Estates mobile home park in Tracy, California on March 27, 2009. Her body was eventually found stuffed in a suitcase  and floating in an irrigation pond on April 6.


Four days later police arrested Huckaby and charged her with the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Sandra. The crime was committed in the church where Huckaby taught Sunday school. The pathologist's report revealed that Sandra was sexually assaulted with a rolling pin. She was strangled to death with a torn piece of cloth.


Huckaby was initially charged with kidnapping, rape, and murder. However, in a plea deal, She pleaded guilty to the murder charge ( The two other charges were dropped and she was also spared the death sentence). She is currently serving a life imprisonment term without parole.

Source: Wikipedia [Sandra Cantu Homicide]

Most of us take for granted that when a child is sexually abused, it's usually a man who is responsible. Even the police who were investigating Sandra's disappearance initially thought so.

Though it is known and there have been many cases where children have been abused and ill treated by women. The abuse is rarely sexual, and when it is so, the woman is usually assisting a male accomplice. They rarely prey on and attack children on their own. Even more rare is an assault on a child of the same sex as the attacker.

The reason I'm writing this is because I felt that it is important for people to realise that those who prey on children can come in any form, men, women, teenagers........and it could be anybody. A teacher, a babysitter, relatives, neighbours, family friends. Basically just anyone.

People who prey on children don't live apart from society, they are a part of society. And many of these people actually serve in roles that will bring them closer to children and gain their trust. They can exist within the confines of what should be a child's close haven.

As in Sandra's case, the victim knew Huckaby and her family, and frequently went over to the latter's house to play with her 5-year old daughter.

When I was a kid, my cousins and I were told by our parents never to speak to strangers. To be careful of big scary looking men. However, sometimes it is the nice looking aunty offering cookies that could be the real monster.

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