Hearing postponed a week for suspect in Sierra’s murder

Antolin Garcia-Torres

UPDATE: The arraignment hearing for Antolin Garcia-Torres, the Morgan Hill man accused of kidnapping and murdering Sierra LaMar, was continued one week and will now take place at 2 p.m. May 31, at the Santa Clara County Superior Court Hall of Justice in San Jose.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office is expected to file criminal charges against Garcia-Torres, 21. 

Garcia-Torres was arrested at gunpoint Monday outside the Safeway grocery store on Tennant Avenue, police said. 

He is accused of kidnapping Sierra, a 15-year-old Sobrato High sophomore who has been missing since March 16, and subsequently killing her. 

Sheriff Laurie Smith said following the arrest that DNA and other evidence links Garcia-Torres to the teen’s disappearance. Investigators found Sierra’s DNA in Garcia-Torres’ red Volkswagen Jetta after they impounded the vehicle a few weeks into the investigation. Plus, Garcia-Torres’ DNA was found on items that belonged to Sierra, which were discarded in a field northwest of the teen’s home two days after she was reported missing. 

Authorities have not yet found Sierra’s body or a murder weapon, but they think she is dead because no sign of any contact from her to anyone else has been identified since the morning of March 16, the sheriff said. 

There is no indication that Sierra and Garcia-Torres knew each other before the kidnapping, authorities said. 

Police think Sierra was kidnapped outside her north Morgan Hill home, near the intersection of Palm and Dougherty avenues, as she was walking to her normal school bus stop. 

Garcia-Torres, a former employee of the Tennant Avenue Safeway store, has been arrested at least twice by sheriff’s deputies in the past, but only convicted once – on a misdemeanor charge of interfering with an officer, Smith said. 

Investigators have also linked Garcia-Torres to at least one event in a series of attempted assaults on random women in the parking lots of both Morgan Hill Safeway grocery stores in 2009, the sheriff said. 

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