By Calvin Palmer
New charges have emerged in the case of the California Sunday school teacher accused of killing an eight-year-old girl.
Melissa Huckaby, 28, of Tracy, faces additional charges alleging that she gave a “harmful substance” to a child identified only as “Jane M. Doe” on January 17 and also mixing a harmful substance with food or drink given to Daniel Plowman in early March.
A charge of child endangerment and one count of furnishing someone a harmful substance relate to the January 17 incident when when a woman in the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park where Huckaby and Sandra also lived, claimed Huckaby took her seven-year-old child without her or her family’s permission.
Lora Polk, 41, said when the child was returned about two hours later, she was acting strange and was taken to the hospital, where doctor’s tested her and reportedly found she had muscle relaxants in her system.
Huckaby was in court yesterday to enter a plea to charges that she raped, kidnapped and murdered Sandra Cantu on March 27.
A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge deferred the matter until June 12 after public defender Sam Behar asked for time to review the new charges filed by the prosecution on Thursday.
During the brief session in a packed courtroom, Huckaby sat calmly and did not speak except to answer “yes” when the judge asked whether she understood that the case was being further delayed.
She is accused of killing Sandra Cantu, her daughter’s playmate. Huckaby was also charged with the special circumstances of rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under 14, which could make her eligible for the death penalty upon conviction.
Huckaby was arrested April 10, just days after Sandra’s body was found in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond near her home.