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May 10, 2010 1:21 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

California woman guilty in death of daughter's playmate

A former California Sunday school teacher accused of killing an 8-year-old playmate of her daughter, then hiding the body in a suitcase, has pleaded guilty to murder.

San Joaquin County Superior Court officials say Melissa Huckaby of Tracy entered the first-degree murder plea Monday morning. Authorities say Huckaby killed Sandra Cantu, a playmate of her young daughter, in March 2009. A search ended when the girl's body was found in a black suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond a few miles from the mobile home park where she lived.

Assistant Court Executive Officer Sharon Morris says Huckaby faces a sentence of 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole when she is sentenced June 14.

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