At 10 a.m. Thursday, Scott Webb, director of the Sund/Carrington Foundation, will present a reward check to Jose Luis Franco for finding the suitcase that contained the body of Sandra Cantu.
On April 6 Franco found a large black suitcase floating in a dairy farm pond near Whitehall Road. He thought it was suspicious, as it hadn’t been there two weeks ago when the pond was last drained, so police were called in at about 10 a.m.
After a day-long investigation, that had media helicopters hovering over the farm site to film shots of the suitcase, it was transported by San Joaquin County coroner’s officals and opened at their facilities.
Tracy kidnapping victim Cantu, 8, had been missing since March 27. She was last seen alive just two miles away from the pond, at the Orchard Estates Mobile Home park.
The suitcase would prove to a key piece of evidence in leading to the arrest of 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby, who told a local newspaper just a few days after Sandra’s body was found that she had a similar suitcase stolen from her driveway the day Sandra was reported missing.
Huckaby was arrested on murder, kidnapping and rape charges on April 10.
According a press release issued by Tracy police, the check will be handed over in a presentation expected to last about 30 minutes.
Although it was initially reported that the workers who found the body were refusing to accept a reward, last week police said about $20,000 would be given to an anonymous recipient — much to the chagrin of Los Angeles psychic Dana Pedlow, who claims she gave police key tips about the case.
Apparently, as Franco ended up giving media interviews, he’s no longer anonymous. According to one TV report, he planned to use the money to help his children attend college.