Antolin Garcia-Torres, of Morgan Hill, was booked into jail by the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office, after his DNA matched DNA left on missing Sierra LaMar’s clothes.
Sierra LaMar, 15, remains missing, although she is presumed to have been the victim of homicide by Garcia-Torres. The girl’s parents said they are not giving up hope of finding their daughter, even as police booked the 21-year-old man late Monday for her murder and kidnapping.
"Our search still is not going to end," Sierra's mother Marlene LaMar said to reporters at a press conference Tuesday. "As a mother, I’m hopeful because her body has not been found."
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said Garcia-Torres had been under surveillance since investigators received lab reports of his DNA found on LaMar's discarded clothes, which he left in her purse neatly folded.
Sheriff Smith said she had hoped Garcia-Torres would lead investigators to where she is but decided to arrest him on account of public safety. "We were hoping that he would lead us to where Sierra was,” Smith said Tuesday. "We wanted to make sure that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.
Sierra LaMar has been missing for more than two months. She disappeared on her way to a school bus sometime after 6 a.m. on Friday, March 16. She never got on the bus.
Garcia-Torres’s arrest has confronted the community with the horrendous possibility that LaMar was murdered, and while her body has not been found, investigators say there are strong clues which indicate she may be dead. Authorities have not found any blood, but the Sherriff’s Office refused to elaborate on any further details.
Sheriff Smith emphasized that there was no indication that Sierra LaMar ran away from home or that she knew Garcia-Torres. "It’s my belief this was purely random," Smith said.
Interviews with the suspect have not yielded anything substantive, she said. LaMar’s mother has made a plea to Garcia-Torres to tell her LaMar’s whereabouts. “Please, please give the information that you have to lead us to Sierra,” she said. "I would like you to come forward and say where she is and end this nightmare.”
Volunteers and sheriff’s personnel have been combing the open spaces, reservoirs and fields in and around Morgan Hill since her disappearance, but without any luck. "We still need your support," Sierra's father Steve LaMar said Tuesday, acknowledging the community’s effort in locating his daughter. "We need to bring Sierra home.”
Investigators found only Sierra’s handbag and cellphone along the side of the road on March 17, the day after she disappeared. Sheriff’s officials were led to a red Volkswagen Jetta which may have been connected to Sierra's abduction given that surveillance cameras and witnesses put the car near the area where authorities believe she disappeared. Aside from these details, investigators have given few details in the case.
Image Source Wikimedia Commons
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