Chandra Levy's mom attends missing girl's vigil

April 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Thursday night a candlelight vigil was held near the home of Sandra Cantu, but a surprise guest came to show her support for the search. A woman who has been through this same kind agony came to show support.SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

The crowd was obviously stunned and impressed when Susan Levy, Chandra Levy's mother, made a surprise appearance at the sixth candlelight vigil in Tracy.

"I can't understand how anybody could have the courage she has after what she's been through to lose her own daughter and then to show support to a family that's missing their own little girl," said Maryann Kalina, a Tracy resident.

Susan Levy never mentioned Chandra-- who disappeared while jogging in Washington D.C. eight years ago. Her remains were found a year later.

"Too many of us are sisters who are hurting because our children have been hurt or missing. I want to believe there's good in this world and with faith and spirit mountains can be moved," said Susan Levy.

Sandra's relatives did not attend the vigil -- a friend says they are exhausted and need to rest, but they did meet privately with Levy, who wanted to comfort and support them.

"There still are happy endings and we are not going to lose faith in that. We are not going to give up," said Lisa Encarnacion, a Cantu family friend.

Earlier in the day, ABC7 learned that the CDC confirmed that Sandra Cantu's father did serve one year in jail in 2005-2006 for drug possession. They say he was at Pelican Bay, but not in the maximum sercurity facility reserved for the worst of the worst. Is it relevant? Police aren't saying.

Thursday afternoon, police released video showing Sandra Cantu at Christmas. The faces of other children in her family have been blurred to protect their identity. Until now, only still photos of the missing 8-year-old have been released.

"A still picture kind of dehumanizes someone, but seeing how little this girl is and how frail she looks -- I mean she is a small little girl for her age -- we want the video out there. We want people to continue to be interested because they've seen the same news over and over again," said Lt. Jeremy Watney, from the Tracy Police Department.

Volunteers joined San Joaquin County in searching the Old River again and police continued sifting through garbage arriving at the dump.

Cantu was wearing a Hello Kitty T-shirt when she disappeared, and police found one in the trash Thursday, but her mother told them it's not hers.

"We are going through absolutely everybody's trash in the city of Tracy this next week that's been dumped. It's just covering a base because a week from now, we can't go back and recreate this week's garbage. So we're covering that now just in case we come across something. It's just covering a base," said Watney.

Police questioned Cantu's father Daniel again Thursday, but will not confirm if he or anyone else has taken a polygraph test.

"Everybody is a person of interest. We have not ruled anybody out," said Watney.

Volunteers continue to want to help. Sylvia Montezuma came from Manteca and has a granddaughter here who knows Cantu.

"Last night when I got off work I just started thinking of the little girl. She was so strongly in my heart. I took a shower and started crying, thinking what she could be going through if she is alive," said Sylvia Moctezuma, a volunteer.

Madeline Freitas is taking flyers back to Stockton.

"I have two grandchildren and I can't even possibly think what I'd be doing if that was one of mine. I just wanted to help," said Freitas.

The reward fund grew from $9,000 Thursday morning to more than $22,000 by 6 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The police are still asking for the public's help.

There are 569 leads that have come in since Sandra's disappearance last Friday -- about 70 since Wednesday.

If you think you might know something, the Tracy Police Department wants you to call: (209) 831-6TIP or (209) 831-6847.

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