Tracy girl still missing after 48 hours

March 29, 2009 5:37:59 PM PDT
48 hours have passed and there has still been no sign of an 8-year-old girl missing in Tracy. Sandra Cantu was last seen late Friday afternoon leaving a friend's house.

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Family members told ABC7 they installed surveillance cameras outside the home where Sandra lives about two weeks ago for security purposes. Now, it turns out that video from those cameras could end up being a clue in the little girl's disappearance.

It is a race against the clock and every second counts.

More than 200 trained searchers were in Tracy Sunday knocking on doors, searching yards, passing out flyers and talking to neighbors in the hopes that any clue would lead them to Sandra.

Search-and-rescue workers from the Bay Area worked through the night, canvassing neighborhoods closest to where she was last seen .

Rich Riechel led a group from Marin County and explained, "Everything has to do with time, for obvious reasons. We try to get as much done as quickly as we can for a better outcome."

No one wants a positive outcome more than Sandra's family.

"Somebody here knows who has taken her because it's not a missing anymore. It's an abduction," said Sandra's grandfather Joe Chavez.

But, Tracy police, working with the FBI, are not calling it an abduction. They still say it is still a missing persons case.

"We're bumping up on two solid days. It's a very strong concern of anyone that someone would be missing for that long without any word. But, it doesn't change the fact that we're still working to facilitate her safe return," said Sgt. Tony Sheneman.

They are hoping the surveillance cameras recently installed outside the Cantu's mobile home might provide a clue. The FBI is studying the video which police say captured Sandra Friday evening in front of her house as she was walking away from the park's front entrance.

"Hopefully this turns out to be a godsend, having it up there," said Chavez.

Investigators searched every car that entered and left the mobile home park Sunday. They also searched every home inside the park.

Neighbors who know Sandra are trying not to think the worst.

"She's very friendly. She talks to adults very easily," said neighbor Debra Slayter.

Sandra is four feet tall and weighs about 45 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a pink "Hello Kitty" tee shirt and a black leggings.

Police say there is no evidence of foul play or abduction in the case, which is why it is still considered a missing persons case. They also say they are talking to registered sex offenders in the area and going over all the logs at nearby hotels to see who has been staying in the area over the past couple days.

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