Investigators scour north Morgan Hill for Sierra LaMar leads

A Santa Clara County Sheriff Search and Rescue team walks through a field along Santa Teresa Blvd. between Scheller Avenue and Richmond Avenue Saturday.

Still hampered by a dearth of leads, law enforcement authorities began to swarm the areas surrounding the home of missing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar Saturday morning. 

The heightened search efforts will cover a 12-mile radius from Palm and Dougherty avenues in north Morgan Hill, the site of the school bus stop that LaMar usually walks to on her way to Sobrato High School. The search will include about 60 members of search and rescue teams from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies, according to Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the sheriff’s office. 

Four search K-9 dogs will also participate in the search, Cardoza added. The FBI joined the local search efforts earlier this week. 

The other agencies are assisting through a “state mutual aid request,” he said. 

LaMar never made it to onto the school bus the morning of Friday, March 16. She lives with her mother and mother’s boyfriend a few hundred yards away, and typically starts walking to the bus stop between 7:10 and 7:15 a.m., according to her parents and authorities. 

LaMar was at home at 6 a.m., when her mother and mother’s boyfriend left the home, and her Twitter account shows her last “tweet” was posted at 6:29 a.m. from the home. Police have also noted that LaMar sent a text message from her cell phone, while she was at home, at 7:11 a.m. the day she was reported missing. 

Tracking dogs employed in an initial search Saturday, March 17, lost her scent at the end of her driveway, which meets a cul-de-sac at the end of a rural court. Her mobile smartphone was found by searchers Saturday evening in a field near Scheller Avenue and Santa Teresa Boulevard, about three-quarters of a mile northwest of her home, police said. 

On Sunday, investigators found LaMar’s “Juicy” brand purse, containing a “neatly folded” pair of pants, T-shirt and undergarments, Cardoza said. Those items were found farther north off the road on Santa Teresa Boulevard, near Laguna Avenue. 

Authorities do not yet have any evidence confirming that LaMar disappeared as a result of a kidnapping or other crime, but they also have found no indication that she willingly ran away. 

The purpose of Saturday’s search is to look for any such evidence, locate possible crime scene areas, and find any other items that could lead investigators to LaMar’s whereabouts, Cardoza said. 

LaMar is about 5-feet, 2-inches tall with a thin build and dark hair. She was last seen with a black and pink “Juicy Couture” brand purse, authorities said. She has no prior history of running away.

For more details on the investigation and the community’s response to the disappearance, click here

Anyone with information on the case can contact Santa Clara County Communications at 299-2311. During normal business hours callers can call Sheriff’s Investigators at 808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at 808-4431. Information or tips can also be sent via the Sheriff’s Office website at: sccgov.org/portal/site/sheriff. Information can also be submitted by text at 421-6760.

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