Tracy police mum on investigation into Sandra Cantu's death

Police in Tracy revealed little today about their progress in finding the killer of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, whose body was stuffed into a suitcase thrown into an irrigation pond near her home.

Investigators have spoken to hundreds of people, Police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said during an afternoon press conference.

"We are heading in a direction," Sheneman said. "To comment on that would compromise the investigation."

Cantu's body was found Monday morning not far from the mobile home park where she last was last seen on March 27.

San Joaquin County Coroners officials completed an autopsy on Cantu's remains earlier today. A sheriff's department spokesman, Deputy Les Garcia, would not comment on the findings. He said officials will wait on toxicology reports and tissue sample analysis before they make a ruling on an official cause of death. Those tests could take anywhere from four to eight weeks, he said.

Police identified her remains based on clothing she was wearing when she last was seen alive -- black leggings and a pink shirt.

Sheneman confirmed earlier in the day that a pastor is among the pepple authorities have interviewed in connection to the case.

"We have talked to many people and he is one of the persons we have spoken to," said Sheneman, referring to the pastor. "He was questioned (Monday), that's all I can say."

Yellow police tape surrounded the Clover Road Baptist Church not far from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park where Cantu lived, and authorities confirmed that it is one of several locations being investigated in connection with Cantu's case.

Sheneman said nobody has been detained and nobody has been arrested.

"We have not closed our interest on any particular person," Sheneman said.

Sheneman said there has been an outpouring of emotion for the little girl and her family.

"We have been receiving many calls and messages from the public wanting to send cash donations as well as cards of condolence and flowers," said Sheneman. "We are asking that any mail be sent to the Tracy Police Department. We will make sure they get all of the cards. As far as cash donations, please contact the Sund-Carrington Foundation in Modesto."

The Sund-Carrington Foundation is located at 301 Downey Ave., Modesto, 95354.

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