Police expand missing girl investigation

April 5, 2009 6:43:16 PM PDT
Volunteers looking for a missing Tracy girl scaled back their search efforts Sunday. 8-year-old Sandra Cantu disappeared on March 27. Noticeably fewer people turned out Sunday to help in the search but police say they have no plans to stop their investigation.

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Tracy police say they still do not have a person of interest in the disappearance of Sandra Cantu. They did say they have received some promising tips within the last four days.

Volunteers were out in force Saturday in a race against time to find Sandra Cantu. On Sunday those same fields that were canvassed by searchers on horseback were empty. Even the staging area where searchers have been meeting has gone silent.

It has been nine days now and there is still no sign of Sandra Cantu.

"What you can see outside the police department and what you can see out on the streets does appear to have slowed down, but it has not slowed down inside the building or on the investigation," Sgt. Tony Sheneman said Sunday.

Patricia Treadway is a private investigator from the Sacramento area who wanted to help in the search effort. But, she left frustrated when she could not find it.

"I felt that I needed to come down here and do this. I've driven all over town and there's absolutely nobody here to even help," she said.

On Saturday police released video of Sandra taken from surveillance cameras recently installed on her grandfather's home. It shows her smiling and skipping past her mobile home just moments before she disappeared.

Investigators hope the footage leads to a clue.

"We're still looking at a lot of people," Sheneman said.

The simple memorial in front of her mobile home park echoes the sentiment around this Central Valley City. Her photo hangs in almost every storefront, on lamp posts and in car windows.

Around town parents are watching their children closely.

"The unknown is what's scary. You just have to do what you have to do as a parent to protect your child," said Tracy resident Cheryl Weeks Tracy.

"It really hit close to home. You always see it in other cities, other towns, and now it's right down the streets from my home," said Tom Garza, also of Tracy.

Sandra's family continues to have hope.

"Deep in our hearts I know that she's alive and well. And, we know that she's going to come back to us. We just know it," said the girl's aunt Angie Chavez.

Police say they have questioned hundreds of people in this case, including every resident at Sandra's mobile home park, some of them multiple times. On Sunday police said they have expanded their investigation outside of the Tracy city limits, but declined to elaborate other than saying their investigation is stronger now than it has been.

If you have any information please call 1-209-831-6TIP.

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