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Cantu investigation takes FBI to rural Northwest

The Sandra Cantu murder investigation and its related threads have led media and FBI investigators all over the West Coast and up into the rural Northwest, where small towns like Clarkston, Wash., and nearby Lewiston, Idaho, are hearing about the Tracy girl’s story.

Late last week reporter Josh Richman managed to reach the Rev. Oliver Bittleston, pastor of the Clarkston First Church of God from 1982 to 1994, at his Clarkston home to ask him about the FBI’s visit to the church. Agents went there in connection with their investigation into murder suspect Melissa Huckaby and her family, including the Rev. Lane Lawless, whose Clover Road Baptist church in Tracy was searched as part of the Cantu investigation. Lawless was ordained in Washington state in the 1970s.

Bittleston said he’d just returned from a Clarkston grocery store, where he’d bumped into the church’s current pastor, the Rev. Bill Creutzberg, who was familiar with the FBI probe and subsequent media calls.

“I have absolutely no idea, I wish that I knew something,” Bittleston said. “The only thing we can do is if there’s any interrogation or investigation that involves the church up here, we’ll have to do it in the presence of our lawyers.”

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Posted on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
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Just enough spots for media at Huckaby hearing

It looks like all interested members of the media who wanted to attend the Melissa Huckaby arraignment in Stockton today got a spot.

In addition to the nine seats pre-assigned on Wednesday by San Joaquin County Superior Court officials, 17 spots were given out by lottery at 11 a.m. this morning. There were 17 applications for those spots.

However, it’s likely that some members of the media didn’t bother making the trek to Stockton, thinking that they would be shut out. The court has also banned all cameras from the proceedings. A media attorney said that courts have pretty full discretion over how to allot access to the media in high-profile cases.

Huckaby, charged with kidnapping, raping and killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, is due to appear at 1 p.m. this afternoon.

To read all about this case, visit our archive of stories.

Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
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FBI investigates church linked to Cantu murder suspect’s grandfather

A Washington-based NBC affiliate TV station is reporting that FBI agents have visited a church in Clarkston to find out information about murder suspect Melissa Cantu’s grandfather, Clifford Lane Lawless.

To read the full story, visit KHQ in Clarkston.

Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
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Report of second church being searched in Cantu case

A church along the Washington-Idaho border has been the focus of an FBI seach in connection with the slaying of Sandra Cantu and arrest of Melissa Huckaby, a TV station is reporting.

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Posted on Friday, April 24th, 2009
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Limited seats in Huckaby’s Friday court appearance sparks media frustrations

A three-person panel representing the San Joaquin County Superior Court decided Wednesday to allow just nine members of Bay Area news organizations to have a guaranteed seat in the courtroom when suspect Melissa Huckaby returns for further arraignment early Friday afternoon in the Sandra Cantu murder case.

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Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
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Despite recent notoriety in Cantu case, church resumes services

According to a report on KRON, the Clover Road Baptist Church, where FBI and police spent days searching for evidence in the slaying of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, is resuming its normal service schedule.

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Posted on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
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