A horse-drawn hearse with a small pink casket inside, led the funeral procession for 8-year-old /*Sandra Cantu*/. The casket signed by her second-grade classmates. About 200 family members and close friends attended the funeral.
"It was a very emotional service, her entire family was there, her classmates; she was in a horse drawn carriage down to the mausoleum in Tracy and the family got to spend time there before she was interred there," Fry Memorial Chapel spokesperson Darren Diebold said.
In the meantime, ABC7 has learned, Sandra's accused killer /*Melissa Huckaby*/ is the object of numerous credible death threats, even as she remains in an isolation unit at the San Joaquin County Jail.
At her first court appearance Tuesday, no fewer than 10 deputies surrounded the 28-year-old single mother accused of the kidnap, rape and murder of the little neighbor girl who often played with Huckaby's daughter.
Tracy police still will not confirm reports that Sandra was murdered at the /*Clover Road Baptist Church*/ or what Huckaby told investigators about why or how it happened, or whether it was accidental.
At Merrill F. West High School, preparations are underway for Thursday's public memorial for Sandra. The gymnasium holds 2,600 people, but there are plans to accommodate thousands more in overflow areas if necessary. The program will include a slide presentation showing Sandra as a young girl, full of life, with the bright smile and sunny disposition.
Tracy Police Chaplain Don Higgins will serve as the master of ceremonies.
"She was known by so many of her classmates as the happy little girl, the girl with the smile, the girl with the hugs, I think that epitomizes the innocence of children," Higgins said.
Public Service for Sandra Cantu:
Thursday, April 16, 2009
People are asked to arrive early since there will be limited parking
Merrill F. West High School
1775 West Lowell Avenue
ABC7NEWS.COM will stream the memorial service live at 1 p.m.