8-year-old girl missing in Tracy

March 29, 2009 12:54:53 PM PDT
Search teams in Tracy went door-to-door inspecting cars and handing out flyers Saturday night in an effort to find 8-year-old Sandra Cantu who has been missing since Friday afternoon.

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Police Saturday set up a checkpoint at the entrance of the Orchard Estates mobile home park. They searched all passing vehicles but found no signs of Sandra.

When it was too dark to look for her, relatives, friends and strangers came together to pray.

"We're not going to give up hope. You never give up hope. We're going to bring her home," said family friend Lisa Encarnacion.

Sandra was last seen at her Tracy home around 4:00 p.m. Friday afternoon, when she asked her mom if she could go to her friend's house to play.

"We've told her so many times not to go with strangers. And, she said she knew what she was doing, not to worry but we always do," said Sandra's grandmother Dolores Chavez.

About 75 volunteers spent Saturday looking for Sandra and passing out fliers with her picture. Police say they have followed up on a dozen tips but have not turned up any solid leads.

"This is a very highly-stressful situation for the whole family. There's been all kinds of various scenarios going through our head and we just don't know," said the girl's uncle Joe Chavez.

Sandra's mom Maria Chavez is trying to focus on positive possibilities.

"I'm hoping that she's scared to come home because I'm mad at her or something. I'm not mad at her. I just want her home," she said.

More than 100 people gathered in front of Sandra's home for a candlelight vigil including Tracy's police chief.

"It continues to cause us concern that we are 28 hours since Sandra has last been seen. That always causes us concern. But again, someone has information and we want that person to come forward," said Chief Janet Thiessen.

They ended the night with a song that brought both comfort and tears. They hope Sandra herself, or whoever has her, will see this story and listen to what they have to say.

"Would you please, please bring her home to us, or take her to the police station," pleaded her grandmother.

The FBI joined in the search Saturday and about 100 more trained search-and-rescue volunteers were called up to join in the search scheduled to continue Sunday at 8:00 a.m.

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