The Central California Sunday school teacher accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu has pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.
San Joaquin County Superior Court officials say Melissa Huckaby entered the surprise plea in a hearing Monday morning.
Authorities say Huckaby killed Sandra, a playmate of her young daughter, last March. A massive search for the girl ended when her body was found in a black suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond.
Court officials say Huckaby faces a sentence of 25-years to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Huckaby is scheduled for sentencing June 14.