FBI visits Clarkston church in connection with Sandra Cantu murder investigation - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

FBI visits Clarkston church in connection with Sandra Cantu murder investigation

Posted: Updated: April 24, 2009 07:56 AM PDT
KCRA reports that the First Church of God in Clarkston was visited by FBI agents KCRA reports that the First Church of God in Clarkston was visited by FBI agents
Clifford Lane Lawless was pastor at the Clover Road Baptist Church at the time of Sandra Cantu's death Clifford Lane Lawless was pastor at the Clover Road Baptist Church at the time of Sandra Cantu's death

CLARKSTON, Wash. -  The investigation into the kidnapping and murder of a young California girl has now reached into the northwest with investigators digging into reports of possible abuse from more than a decade ago. According to a report from KHQ affiliate KCRA in Sacramento FBI agents were in the Lewiston-Clarkston area earlier this week where they visited a church in connection with a member of Melissa Huckaby's family. Huckaby, 28, is the former Sunday school teacher charged in 8-year-old Sandra Cantu's death in Tracy, CA.

Sources cited by KCRA indicate that the FBI's investigation centered on Pastor Clifford Lane Lawless, the grandfather of Melissa Huckaby. He was reportedly the pastor of a church in the Lewiston-Clarkston area in the 1980's however KHQ was unable to confirm which church he lead because of a lack of records and the fact that several area churches have similar names. KCRA reports that Lawless was possibly questioned in connection with allegations of child abuse at the time of that original investigation. However the Asotin County Sheriff's Department and the Clarkston Police Department say they do not have any records of a criminal case ever being filed.

Pastor Bill Creutzberg in a telephone interview said that the FBI was "trying to put the pieces of their puzzle together. They were asking about certain people who might be able to lead them to other people."

Lawless is now the pastor of the Clover Road Baptist Church in Tracy, CA where Huckaby taught Sunday school. The church was searched during the investigation into Sandra Cantu's disappearance and again after her body was found in a suitcase pulled from an irrigation pond 10 days after she went missing.

Huckaby has been charged with one count of murder with the special circumstances of rape with a foreign object, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child under 14 and murder in the course of a kidnapping. She was scheduled to be in court again Friday morning to enter a plea in the case.
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