Kidnap-murder case in Tracy hits close to home for Bakersfield mom

Kidnap-murder case in Tracy hits close to home for Bakersfield mom
No one can imagine the pain and the suffering the family of Sandra Cantu is going through. The 8-year-old girl was kidnapped and then found murdered not far from her home in Tracy.

But Nellie Martinez of Bakersfield is one person who knows exactly what the Cantu family is going through.

"My heart goes to the family, to the mom. It's going to be a long, long road ahead of them," said Martinez.

Nellie Martinez knows only too well what that feeling is like. On May 10,1990 Nellie's daughter 4-year-old Jessica was kidnapped near her southwest Bakersfield apartment. Eleven days later, Jessica's remains were found buried in a cotton field.

Sandra Cantu disappeared on March 27 near her home in Tracy in San Joaquin County. Sandra's remains were found 10 days later in a suitcase in a pond.

"There's a monster out there, he's got to be apprehended, he's got to be put away!" said Jose Chavez, grandfather to Sandra.

Nellie Martinez understands the family's anger--and sadness. It's been 19 years since Jessica was taken and Nellie says she still has her bad days 19 years later.

Nellie says she gets angry when she hears a child somewhere has been kidnapped.

"Laws are being made, they're getting tougher on these sick animals that are doing this, but they are still doing this," said Martinez.

And it's going to take a long time for the Cantu family to put this behind them says Martinez. But if comments made by Sandra Cantu's family are any indication, it may never happen.

"I'm Catholic. We're supposed to forgive, but this I can't forgive," said Sandra's uncle Joe Chavez.

Martinez is confident police in Tracy will catch Sandra's killer. She feels technical advances in forensic science will make a huge difference in leading to clues in capturing the killer of Sandra Cantu.

And though no one has ever been arrested for Jessica's murder, Nellie Martinez has never given up hope.