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Entries in Sierra LaMar (9)

Tuesday
May222012

Arrest Made in Case of Missing California Teen Sierra LaMar

ABC News(MORGAN HILL, Calif.) -- Santa Clara County police said Tuesday they had been following the suspect in the kidnapping and murder of Sierra LaMar since March 28, hoping he would lead them to the missing teen.

Antolin Garcia Torres, 21, was arrested Monday and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of murder and kidnapping, according to the sheriff's department.

Police said he was not being cooperative and they are still looking for LaMar.

The girl's mother, Marlene LaMar, made an emotional plea to Garcia-Torres and anyone who may have information about the case at a news conference Tuesday.

"Please give the information that you have to lead us to Sierra to help end this nightmare. I would like you to come forward and say where she is and end this nightmare for us as a family." she said.

LaMar said she is holding out hope her daughter is still alive.

"Until she is found, our search is still not going to end," she said. "As a mother, still I am hopeful because her body has not been found and that gives me hope."

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The cheerleader disappeared on March 16 on her way to a school bus. Two days later, authorities found her cellphone and Juicy brand bag containing a pair of folded jeans and a T-shirt two miles from her home.

DNA was found on several of the teen's belongings and was run through a state database, said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith. That DNA was a match for Antolin Garcia Torres who had a submitted DNA during a felony arrest that had not been prosecuted, she said.

The discovery prompted police to follow him 24/7 starting March 28. "Public safety was our primary concern," she said.

Smith did not say Tuesday what prompted police to end their surveillance and arrest Garcia-Torres, but on Monday after the arrest she said, "He was arrested today because this is how we thought that the arrest should be done and public safety is our number one concern. We don't want anyone else hurt. We don't want any more little girls taken."

The suspect is from Morgan Hill, the same area where Sierra lived with her family and where the teen disappeared. He is the owner of the red Volkswagen Jetta that police seized on April 7.

"We have physical evidence linking Sierra to his vehicle," Smith said Tuesday.

Garcia-Torres was arrested around 6 p.m. at the Safeway store where he works.

Divers began searching reservoirs near her home last month, but have yet to come up with a trace of the teen.

Last week's episode of the TV program America's Most Wanted featured LaMar's case, and investigators have since been sorting through a series of tips and possible leads.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
May132012

Missing CA Girl Sierra LaMar’s Mom Sends Her a Mother’s Day Message

ABC News (MORGAN HILL, Calif.) -- The mother of Sierra LaMar, the 15-year-old California cheerleader who has been missing for two months, sent her love to her “miracle” daughter in a Mother’s Day message on Sunday.

“Sierra is my miracle baby. I was told that because of my age, the likelihood of getting pregnant was slim. I knew she was going to be strong-willed the moment the doctor saw on the ultrasound that she was doing somersaults in utero,” Marlene LaMar wrote on the website set up to help in the search for the Morgan Hill, Calif., girl.

“The greatest gift that God has blessed me with is the joy of being a mom to two beautiful daughters,” she wrote. “I love you Danielle and Sierra and I’m so proud to be your mom.”

The cheerleader was last seen on March 16 as she left to catch the school bus.   The girl’s parents contacted authorities later that day after receiving an email from her high school informing them the teen did not show up for class.

Days later, Sierra’s cell phone and her Juicy brand bag containing a pair of folded jeans and a t-shirt were recovered on the side of the road in the opposite direction of her bus stop. Investigators searched her phone and computer, but did not find clues to her disappearance.

Divers began searching reservoirs near her home last month, but have yet to come up with a trace of the teen.

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Last week, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department impounded a red Volkswagen Jetta believed to be connected to Sierra LaMar’s disappearance.

Authorities found the mid-90s four-door red sedan with a black hood after releasing pictures of a similar vehicle on Monday, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Cardoza. However, investigators are not disclosing specifics of how they identified the car and its connection to the case.

The vehicle came to the attention of authorities after it was captured on multiple surveillance videos in the area of the missing cheerleader’s Morgan Hill home and the area where authorities recovered the teen’s belongings.

Cardoza said investigators have been unable to recognize anyone inside the vehicle from the videos.

With the vehicle in custody, authorities are asking the public to report any sightings of the vehicle and/or possible occupants at the time of the girl’s disappearance. They are interested in speaking to anyone who may have come in contact with the car or occupants in the month of March.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Car Linked to Sierra LaMar Disappearance Found

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- A red Volkswagen Jetta connected to the disappearance of 15-year-old Sierra LaMar is now in custody of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities found the mid-'90s four-door red sedan with a black hood after releasing pictures of a similar vehicle on Monday, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Cardoza.  However, investigators are not disclosing specifics of how they identified the car and its connection to the case.

The vehicle came to the attention of authorities after it was captured on multiple surveillance videos in the area of the missing cheerleader’s Morgan Hill, Calif., home and the area where authorities recovered the teen’s belongings. Sgt. Cardoza said investigators have been unable to recognize specific person(s) in the vehicle from the videos.

With the vehicle in custody, authorities are asking the public to report any sightings of the vehicle and/or possible occupants at the time of the girl’s disappearance. They are interested in speaking to anyone who may have come in contact with the car or occupants in the month of March.

The cheerleader was last seen on March 16 as she left to catch the school bus.  The girl’s parents contacted authorities later that day after receiving an email from her high school informing them the teen did not show up for class.

Days later, Sierra’s cellphone and her Juicy brand bag containing a pair of folded jeans and a T-shirt were recovered on the side of the road in the opposite direction of her bus stop. Investigators searched her phone and computer, but did not find clues to her disappearance.

Divers began searching reservoirs near her home last month, but have yet to come up with a trace of the teen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr142012

Sierra LaMar: Search For Missing California Teen Goes Underwater

ABC News (MORGAN HILL, Calif.) -- Nearly a month after her disappearance, the search for missing teen Sierra LaMar has moved underwater.

Divers searched two reservoirs near the teen's Morgan Hill, Calif., home but did not find any signs of the missing cheerleader.

Investigators plan to analyze underwater sonar images taken earlier this week.

Despite the severe weather much of the state experienced on Friday, volunteers plan to spend the weekend searching for LaMar, 15, who disappeared on March 16 while on the way to catch her school bus.

Police have received more than 1,200 tips but have few leads, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The teen's parents reached out to her friends, and grew more anxious when one friend said she wasn't in class earlier that day.

They decided to contact authorities around 5 p.m., after her high school sent them an email saying Sierra hadn't shown up for school that day.

"We want you to come back home. We know you will find your way back to us," Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, said at a vigil a week after her daughter's disappearance.

Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1994, is also on the case and has helped LaMar set up a search center.

Police found a bag belonging to the teen discarded near an intersection close to her home two days after she vanished.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza said her Juicy brand bag contained a neatly folded pair of pants and a T-shirt.

Investigators also found Sierra's cell phone on the side of a road in the opposite direction of her bus stop a day after her disappearance.

The charger for the teen's cell phone was found in her room at home, and the phone looked as if it had been tossed.

Authorities said the phone provided no clues, nor did investigators find any helpful clues on her computer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar302012

Possible New Evidence Found in Search for Sierra LaMar

ABC(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- Police investigating the disappearance of California cheerleader Sierra LaMar are examining and empty handcuff box and two used condoms to determine whether they are key pieces of evidence.

“They’re going to be submitted to the crime lab for analysis and we won’t know if they’re related until we get the results back from the crime lab,” Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office’s Sgt. Jose Cardoza told ABC News Friday.

The two items were found Thursday at the dead-end of a rural road within a two-mile radius of the teen’s Morgan Hills, Calif. home, Cardoza said.

LaMar, 15, was last seen leaving the home by her mother at 6 a.m. on March 16, before she left for school.  LaMar’s mother realized she was missing after she did not return home from school that day. Her school bus driver later said that the teen never got on the bus that morning.

The discovery of possible new evidence in the case came just one day after officials announced that they are now treating LaMar’s puzzling disappearance as a possible abduction.

On Wednesday, authorities announced they believe LaMar may have been abducted or kidnapped, or that she voluntarily left home, but is now being held against her will.  They also suspect that the key to solving the case will come from a local source.

“That’s the leading theory, that whoever is responsible is someone from Morgan Hill or knows the area of Morgan Hill,” Cardoza said Friday.

The handcuff box and condoms were found by members of a volunteer search crew, the KlaasKids Foundation, in a location that had been searched five times before.  Cardoza said they will not know until further testing whether the items were overlooked in earlier searches or had been recently placed there.  The dead-end road where the items were found is said to be a popular hangout for teens.

A search of waterways, ponds and reservoirs conducted by authorities on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Morgan Hill area came up empty.

The Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office has opened a tips line that Cardoza said has so far received over 600 tips.

The possible new evidence discovered Thursday is within 1.5 miles from where searchers found LaMar’s cell phone a day after her disappearance and a bag of her clothes last week.

The cell phone was found alongside the road about a mile away from her home in the opposite direction of her bus stop. The charger for her cell phone was found in her room at home. Police said the phone looked as if it had been tossed. A forensic investigation of the phone and her computer yielded no leads.

LaMar is described as 5- feet-2 with long brown hair. Her father told ABC News she loves listening to music and was a cheerleader at her old school.

“We want you to come back home, we know you will find your way back to us,” said Marlene LaMar, Sierra LaMar’s mother, at a candlelight vigil last Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar282012

Sierra LaMar: Cops Say Teen Likely Being Held Against Her Will

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- The 2-week-old investigation into California teenager Sierra LaMar’s puzzling disappearance is now being viewed as a possible abduction.

Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jose Cardoza told ABC News Wednesday that authorities now believe LaMar, 15, may have been abducted or kidnapped, or that she voluntarily left home but is now being held against her will.

“The first week the focus was on the public’s help for possible sightings,” Cardoza said. “Now the focus is to call us with people that are suspicious in the neighborhood. We don’t know where she could be in the area, but we are thinking that whoever is involved either lives in Morgan Hills area or has a familiarity with the area.”

The LaMar family is growing desperate as the days pass while no new information about their daughter’s whereabouts has emerged. “We have made pleas on camera,” said Steve LaMar, the teen’s father, “if there is someone that is holding her, release her.  We don’t care about anything except getting Sierra back home.”

“Just release her, leave her at a gas station, anything, we just want her home,” LaMar said.

Sierra, described as “bubbly” and “loving,” was last seen by her mother at 6 a.m. on March 16, before she left for school. LaMar’s mother realized she was missing after she did not return home from school that day. Her school bus driver later said that the teen never got on the bus that morning.

While LaMar’s disappearance was originally treated as a missing persons case, the teen’s parents never believed she ran away.

Cardoza agrees. "There are no indications that she would have run away, and no other leads point towards that she would run away,” Cardoza told ABC News.

Searchers found her cell phone a day after her disappearance and a bag of her clothes were found last week.

The cell phone was found alongside the road about a mile away from her home in Morgan Hills, Calif., in the opposite direction of her bus stop. The charger for her cell phone was found in her room at home. Police said the phone looked as if he had been tossed. A forensic investigation of the phone yielded no leads, neither did a search of her computer.

Volunteers gathered again Wednesday to search the area for any clues into this mysterious disappearance.

The community and her family are desperately looking for answers.

LaMar is described as 5 feet 2, with long brown hair.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar242012

Sierra Lamar: Friends, Family Hold Vigil For Missing California Teen

Hemera/Thinkstock (MORGAN HILL, Calif.) -- After a week of few leads and dashed hopes, missing teen Sierra LaMar's family, friends and classmates gathered at a candlelight vigil for the Morgan Hill, Calif., girl who has been missing for nine days.

"We want you to come back home. We know you will find your way back to us," Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, said among the flickering candles and teary-eyed supporters Friday.

The FBI set up a roadblock where LaMar would usually board her bus and is stopping drivers who pass through, hoping someone will provide a clue that could help bring Sierra home.

Marlene LaMar said Sierra's bus driver told her she never boarded the bus the day she disappeared.

Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1994, is also on the case and has helped LaMar set up a search center.

The 15-year-old was last seen on March 16 as she headed off to school from her Morgan Hill home.

Police found a bag belonging to the teen two days later, discarded near an intersection close to her home.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza said her Juicy brand bag contained a neatly folded pair of pants and a T-shirt, but that the evidence provided no clues about whether Sierra was abducted or ran away.

Cardoza said police were treating her disappearance as a missing person's case. "There is no information leading us to believe she purposely ran away," he said. "On the other hand, we don't have information or evidence associating a crime with her being missing."

Investigators found Sierra's cell phone on the side of a road in the opposite direction of her bus stop a day after her disappearance. The charger for the teen's cell phone was found in her room at home, and the phone looked as if it had been tossed.

Authorities said the phone yielded no clues, nor did investigators find any helpful clues on her computer.

"I can't imagine Sierra without her cell phone," her mother said. "That's when it became a harsh reality."

Sierra's father, Steve LaMar, said he had no reason to believe Sierra was planning to run away.

He talked to her the day before she was reported missing, and she was "happy, talking to me about homework.

"She was asking me to make an appointment so she could dye her hair," Steve LaMar said. "She wouldn't miss that appointment — if you knew my daughter."

Sierra LaMar's parents reached out to her friends, and grew more anxious when one friend said she wasn't in class earlier that day.

They decided to contact authorities around 5 p.m., after her high school sent them an email saying Sierra hadn't shown up for school that day.

Sierra LaMar's parents are divorced, and she lived with her father in Fremont, Calif., until October, when she moved in with her mother and transferred to Sobrata High School in Morgan Hills.

ABC News has learned that Steve LaMar is a registered sex offender and is currently on probation for committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age. Police have emphasized that Steve LaMar is not a suspect in the investigation.

Police have questioned students at both Sierra's current high school and the previous school she attended in Fremont, Cardoza said. They have interviewed more than 100 people and have broadened the investigation to include all known sex offenders in the immediate and broader area of the teen's home.

But for now, it's a race against time and friends and family can only hope for the best but admit they fear the worst.

"It's been so long, every day we wonder if she's ok," friend Shanice Washington said. "Everyday it gets harder."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar222012

Cellphone of Missing California Teen Sierra LaMar Yields No Leads

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- The search continues for Sierra LaMar, the Northern California teen who mysteriously disappeared on her way to school last week.

Authorities say there have been no new leads in the case and an analysis of her cellphone, found about a mile from her school bus stop, has yielded no clues, according to a press release issued by the Santa Clara Sheriff’s office on Wednesday.

A search and rescue team found the 15-year-old’s phone Saturday night alongside the roadway, about a mile away from her home in Morgan Hills, in the opposite direction of her bus stop, Sgt. Jose Cordoza told ABC News.

The charger for the teen’s cellphone was found in her room at home, and the phone looked as if it had been tossed.

Authorities and LaMar's family were hopeful that the phone could lead them to the girl.  But according to the press release, ”Forensic examinations of Sierra’s cell phone and computer have not revealed information beneficial to Sierra’s disappearance.”

“I can’t imagine Sierra without her cellphone,” Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, told ABC News after the phone was found.  ”That’s when it became a harsh reality.”

Over 150 tips have been called in to authorities, but none have yielded new leads in the case, authorities said.

Cordoza told ABC News that police are regarding LaMar’s disappearance as a missing person’s case.

”There is no information leading us to believe she purposely ran away,” he said.  ”On the other hand we don’t have information or evidence associating a crime with her being missing.”

Sierra’s father, Steve LaMar, told ABC News he has no reason to believe she was planning on running away.  He said there was “nothing out of the ordinary,” about her behavior leading up to her disappearance.  He spoke to her last Thursday evening and she even asked him to make her a hair appointment for the next weekend -- something he says she would never miss.

Marlene LaMar became worried after her daughter didn’t return home from school last Friday.

“I was worried when I came home and she wasn’t here,” Marlene LaMar told ABC News.  ”That’s when my adrenaline, that fear kicked in.  That’s when a mother has that instinct that something isn’t quite right here.”

They reached out to the teen’s friends, but they grew more concerned when one friend said Sierra wasn’t in class earlier that day.  They decided to contact authorities around 5 p.m. Friday, after her high school sent them an e-mail saying she didn’t show up for school at all that day.

Marlene LaMar told ABC News that her daughter’s bus driver said the teen never got on the bus the morning of her disappearance.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar192012

Police Find Missing California Teen Sierra LaMar’s Cellphone

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(MORGAN HILLS, Calif.) -- Authorities say they found the cellphone of 15-year-old Sierra LaMar, a missing California teenager, late Saturday night on the side of a road about a mile away from her home in Morgan Hills, Calif. Public information officer Sgt. Jose Cordoza of the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office said search and rescue personnel found the phone turned off, and they are doing a forensic search for more clues.  The charger for the cellphone was found in her room at home.

LaMar was last reported seen by her mother at 6 a.m. before she left for school last Friday morning. Her mother then left for work and did not actually see Sierra leave the house.

Sierra’s father, Steve LaMar, told ABC News he has no reason to believe she was planning on running away. He said there was “nothing out of the ordinary” about her behavior before her disappearance. He spoke to her Thursday evening and she asked him to make an upcoming hair appointment for her.

“I talked to Sierra on the phone Thursday night. She was happy, talking to me about homework. She was asking me to make an appointment so she could dye her hair. She was happy,” LaMar told ABC News.

Sgt. Cordoza told ABC News they are strictly regarding this as a missing person case.

“There is no information leading us to believe she purposely ran away. On the other hand we don’t have information or evidence associating a crime with her being missing,” he told ABC News.

Her family became worried after she didn’t return home from school on Friday. They reached out to her friends, thinking she was with one of them. Their concern grew when one friend said Sierra wasn’t in class earlier that day. They decided to contact authorities around 5 p.m. on Friday, after her high school sent them an email saying she didn’t show up for school at all.

Steve LaMar still lives in Fremont, California, where Sierra lived until October when she moved with her mother and transferred to Sobrata High School in Morgan Hills. The parents are divorced but both have been cooperative throughout the investigation, said police.

Sgt. Cordoza told ABC News they have suspended their search in the areas near her home, and people will no longer be going out due to a lack of evidence. They are focusing their attention on students at both her current high school and the previous school she attended in Freemont.

“We have exhausted our search efforts in that area. We have investigators talking to kids hoping they can lead us in the right direction as far as where she could be. We are looking for any information, period,” he said.

LaMar is described as being 5 feet 2 with long brown hair, and was last seen with a pink and brown purse.

Sierra’s father told ABC News she loves listening to music and used to dance competitively. He said Sierra was a cheerleader at her old school and loves being around her friends.

“We are all praying for her to come home and that she is safe. I love her and miss her and we want her home,” LaMar told ABC News.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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