Missing girl's father asks for public's help

April 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The father of a missing Central Valley girl is pleading for his daughter's return and talking about the questioning he has endured. On Friday, 8-year-old Sandra Cantu vanished from the mobile home park in Tracy where she lives.SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

"There's an 8-year-old girl out there, who's hungry, who's cold, who's being hurt possibly, we're praying and keeping our faith that she's not," said Daniel Cantu, Sandra's father. "We need the help of the community."

This is the first time Sandra's father has spoken out about the disappearance of his daughter. Although he has been estranged from the family, he acknowledges he has been under a lot of scrutiny.

There was a special guest at Wednesday night's vigil. Midsi Sanchez, who was once kidnapped in Vallejo and escaped when she was eight, offered hope to the crowd praying for Sandra.

"I was excited to be home, so I just want everybody to know there is hope. Miracles do happen," said Sanchez.

Earlier on Wednesday, volunteers searched a garbage transfer station looking for the pink Hello Kitty shirt Sandra was last seen wearing.

Sandra's father passed out flyers and called out to his daughter.

"Honey, if you can get to a phone, dial 911 babe. Scream, kick, do what you need to do, but please bring her home," he said.

Police released additional pictures of Sandra. Her father is asking volunteers to help produce and distribute new flyers with the photos. He also says he is cooperating with the investigation.

"I just got through with a couple of hours of being interrogated," he said.

Cantu says he drove up from Mexicali, where police searched his home, in order to be here. He says he has no problem with the scrutiny.

"That's what's important here, if I'm under question, if there are questions about me then let them continue to question, keep the questions coming, I could care less," said Cantu.

He says he has not taken a polygraph yet. "I could care less about it. Yes, I have no problems with any of it," he said.

On Thursday, police plan to release videotape of Sandra recorded by her home's surveillance camera mounted on her home. It's the last anyone has seen of her since she disappeared on Friday.

Police say they have received 500 tips, 150 since Tuesday. They also say they have narrowed down their leads.

"We have people that are in different churches. Just people that want to do something to help look for the little girl," said Ed Shipley with the emergency response team.

Sandra is a second-grader at Jacobson Elementary School. Cindy Sasser, the principal there says students have access to psychologists.

"We had two yesterday and two today, just in case students do need to come in and talk about it. And, we have had some that have come in," she told ABC7.

Police say they have issued no new search warrants since Monday when they searched six locations and towed three cars.

There was a possible sighting Wednesday in Alameda County, north of Vasco Road. A motorist called the California Highway Patrol saying he had seen a girl in the back seat of a Volvo who looked a lot like Sandra. Police quickly sent three units to the location but could not find the car.

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

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