In the catalog of horrific crimes, those which victimize a child are among the worst. When eight-year-old Sandra Cantu of Tracy, Calif., went missing on March 27, 2009. the possibilities ranged from her being lost to a simple kidnapping to killing. When it was first discovered that Cantu had not only been kidnapped, but also drugged and violated before being murdered, no one imagined that the main suspect would be Sunday-school-teaching Melissa Huckaby, 28.
Though there have been many instances in which women have murdered children — usually their own child — most of those cases have a sort of insane reasoning to them, such as Andrea Yates, the Texan woman suffering from severe postpartum depression who systematically drowned all five of her children. It's rare to see a woman like Huckaby involved in a murder case: young, seemingly liked by her neighbors, involved in the community, a mother herself — by all accounts, seemingly normal. And rarer still was her court appearance. Those facing trial tend to face the judge stoically. Huckaby, during her court appearances, openly wept and seemed genuinely remorseful.