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Friday, July 03, 2009

Melissa Huckaby's child at center of court fight

Right: Melissa Huckaby in better days
By Daniel Thigpen
Record Staff Writer
May 20, 2009

As Melissa Huckaby faces charges she kidnapped, raped and killed 8-year-old Sandra Cantu in March, the Tracy woman's mother and ex-husband are waging a bitter court battle for custody of the murder suspect's young daughter.

On April 16, less than a week after Tracy police arrested his ex-wife in connection with Sandra's death, Johnny Huckaby asked a court to give him custody of their 5-year-old daughter, citing the rape and murder allegations in court papers filed in Orange County Superior Court.

Madison Huckaby, who was Sandra's playmate, has been living with Melissa Huckaby's parents, Judy and Brian Lawless, in the Southern California town of Cypress since [her April] arrest, according to court filings.

Court Commissioner Walter Posey initially granted Johnny Huckaby, 25, custody of his daughter on April 20. But Posey reversed course two days later, after Judy Lawless pleaded with the court to let her keep the child.

In court papers, Judy Lawless said Madison has lived with her most of her life and has had little contact with her father, who has since remarried and lives 1,700 miles away, just outside Little Rock, Ark.

A custody hearing Monday was postponed until July 6.

Johnny Huckaby, Judy Lawless and their lawyers did not return calls for comment late Tuesday...

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