21-year-old arrested in murder, kidnapping of Sierra

The Volkswagen Jetta linked to Sierra's disappearance

Police arrested a 21-year-old San Martin man they say is connected with missing teen Sierra LaMar, according to Steve LaMar, the missing teen’s father.

Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, was arrested about 6 p.m. Monday evening at the Safeway grocery store where he worked, located in the Tennant Station shopping center. He was transported to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department in San Jose and remains in custody. He’s been charged with one count murder and one count of kidnapping, said Sheriff Laurie Smith Monday night.

Sources say DNA evidence found in her purse two days after she went missing March 16 links the man to LaMar.

He is reported to have worked at both Safeway stores in Morgan Hill, but Safeway employees declined to comment Monday. 

Police think Sierra was kidnapped from just outside her home near the intersection of Palm and Dougherty avenues in northwest Morgan Hill shortly after 7 a.m. on March 16. Investigators said the K-9 unit lost Sierra’s scent at end of her street, en route to her bus stop where she was usually would walk to on a normal school day.

The last known communication she had with someone she knows is a text sent from her phone to a friend about 7:11 a.m.

According to Smith, Garcia-Torres is the owner of the red Jetta that investigators believed was connected to her kidnapping. They released photos of the car about two weeks ago. Then, on May 11, Sierra’s story was featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” It’s been reported by other media outlets that tips generated from the episode led authorities closer to Garcia-Torres.

Smith spoke to TV reporters in San Jose late Monday night. 

“We don’t want anyone else hurt,” Smith said. “We don’t want anymore little girls taken.”

Smith said the sheriff’s office will answer questions at a scheduled press conference at 8 a.m. in San Jose Tuesday morning.

Smith said Garcia-Torres was under surveillance in Morgan Hill.

“We have probable cause to charge him with one count of kidnapping and one count of murder,” Smith said when asked if Garcia-Torres worked alone. Smith did not address whether or not Sierra’s body has been found.

Check the gilroydispatch.com for full coverage of the press conference.

 

Leave your comments