Sadly, the 10-day search for little Sandra ends and the search for who is responsible for this begins.
The grim discovery was made Monday morning when farmers found a suitcase in an irrigation pond north of Tracy. At a press conference Monday night police confirmed it held Sandra's remains.
The town of Tracy was crushed Monday night. Police say they positively identified the body of Sandra Cantu and she was still wearing the pink Hello Kitty T-shirt she was last seen wearing.
Around 10 a.m. Monday morning farm workers discovered a suitcase in a drainage pond used by a local dairy. It was just two-miles away from Sandra's house at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. Farm workers told police it was not there when they drained the pond two weeks ago. Police say they searched the same area twice before, but the suitcase was submerged at the time.
At an emotional press conference at City Hall, Tracy's police chief confirmed the worst.
"Around 5:40 this evening, the bag was taken from the water and transported to the San Joaquin County morgue where it was opened. Inside the bag, we located the body of Sandra Cantu," said Chief Janet Theissen, from the Tracy Police Department.
"It's very difficult for everyone involved. Everybody was optimistic and hopeful that we would find Sandra alive and well, so it's not easy for any of us," said Sgt. Tony Sheneman, from the Tracy Police Department.
Sandra's father, Daniel Cantu, was at a press conference near the scene earlier on Monday and winced at some of the tough questions being asked. About two hours later, he and the rest of Sandra's family were notified. On Saturday, police released the last known pictures of the second grader skipping by a surveillance camera in front of her home. Her disappearance from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park 10-days ago prompted a massive search.
Monday night, more than 100 people gathered at the mobile home park after hearing the news. Many had spent days handing out fliers and every night they held a vigil and prayed for Sandra's safe return home.
Residents of the mobile home park told ABC7 that just before 11 p.m. Monday night police served a warrant for a resident inside the park. This was one of the locations searched late last week by FBI agents.
Police interviewed at least a few people of interest, searched six homes, and towed several cars. However, police are still searching for the person who kidnapped and murdered the 8-year-old girl.
Any information are urged to call Tracy Police at: 1-209-831-6TIP