Update: Arrest Made in Sierra Lamar's Disappearance for Murder and Kidnapping

By: Brian Shields - Tue, 22 May 2012 02:51:52 -0800

SAN JOSE (KRON) -- Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith says there's overwhelming evidence that 15-year old high school cheerleader Sierra Lamar is a homicide victim.

"We do have a dead child," Smith told reporters late Monday night after announcing the arrest of 21-year old Antolin Garcia-Torres in connection with Sierra's disappearance. "I can't feel good about that but I'm happy that we can bring someone to justice."

Investigators with the sheriff's department arrested Garcia-Torres at a Morgan Hill shopping center Monday evening. Smith says her deputies had been watching the suspected killer.

"If he's the suspect in the murder and kidnapping of a young girl, then he's very dangerous," Smith added. "We think it's important that he's in custody. Surveillance is not perfect. We decided to make the arrest. We believe we have sufficient evidence not only to arrest but for a successful prosecution."

The sheriff says some of the evidence against Garcia-Torres stems from the discovery of a red VW Jetta with a black hood.

"The red Jetta is his car," Smith noted. "We've had his car. We're still looking for people to tell us where have you seen the car? What have you seen it doing? Where have you seen our suspect, Antolin Garcia-Torres? We have credible good information now but we need more."

Smith is promising more detailed information at a Tuesday morning news conference that will include both investigators and members of Sierra's family.

"We've been communicating all along with the family and keeping updated on everything that we've been doing," Sheriff Smith said. "The family has been cooperative. It's a very very difficult time for them."

It's now been more than two months since Sierra was last seen leaving her mother's home in rural Morgan Hill to catch the bus to take her to school. Her cell phone and purse containing folded up clothes were recovered not far away.

Hundreds of volunteers have been searching the area around Marlene Lamar's house in hopes of finding more evidence. Sheriff's department dive teams have also used side-scanning sonor to look for possible remains in area ponds and reservoirs.

So far authorities haven't said what evidence they have that Sierra may be dead to justify the murder charge.

Stay tuned to KRON 4 and KRON4.com for the latest on this developing story.

(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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