Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sandra Cantu

The Search Begins

Sandra Cantu
Sandra Cantu

No stone was left unturned in the search for Sandra. The FBI joined forces with the local police, conducting door-to-door interviews with every resident in the mobile home park. They set up barricades at which they searched car trunks and interviewed people driving into the area. A California Highway Patrol helicopter equipped with thermal imaging flew above the area, searching for clues. Residents joined in the search, posting flyers around town. Sixteen different agencies from the region joined forces with the FBI and the Tracy police working in 12-hour shifts to locate the missing child. Numerous cars were impounded and searched but dismissed.

Maria Chavez
Maria Chavez

There was some criticism that the police didn't reach out to the media early enough when, after several days, Sandra was still not found. It began to look less and less like they would find a living Sandra Cantu, and the police turned to the Tracy dump to search for evidence, such as the clothes she had been wearing, which might indicate that the kidnapper had changed her clothes — or, more darkly, for Sandra's body.

On April 9, they caught a weird break, a note "From Sandra, to my killer." The note was found on a tree in the trailer park's grounds.

 

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