UPDATE: DA not investigating Gilroy incident some tied to Sierra case

Antolin Garcia-Torres

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is not investigating a possible link between a sketch of a man who tried to seduce a 10-year-old Gilroy girl in July 2011 and Sierra LaMar’s alleged kidnapper, but Gilroy Police already have. 

According to GPD, an incident involving a Hispanic male who allegedly attempted to lure the girl into his car July 26, 2011 has drawn recent attention from the community, as some have said the drawing of the suspect released by police looks similar to Antolin Garcia Torres, the murder suspect tied to Sierra’s disappearance. 

The suspect approached a girl outside her home on the 7600 block of Miller Avenue in west Gilroy and ordered her to enter his white Honda. The girl did not comply and ran into her house and told her family. 

The suspect in the 2011 incident was described as a male adult with a goatee with short balding hair or a crew cut. 

Some media outlets have connected the sketch of this suspect to Garcia Torres’ booking photo, but Gilroy Police have not yet arrested or identified a suspect or announced a possible link to Sierra. 

“Those are other people drawing those conclusions,” Gilroy police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said. 

The GPD completed their investigation into the incident, and has submitted it to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office for review. 

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is not looking into any connection between Garcia Torres and the July 2011 incident, according to Sgt. Jose Cardoza. 

Other than Sierra’s disappearance, the only incident out of many unsolved similar kidnapping and assault attempts throughout Santa Clara County the sheriff’s office has linked to Garcia Torres is an attempted assault in the parking lot of a Safeway grocery store in Morgan Hill in 2009, Cardoza said. 

That was one of a string of three similar incidents that took place at both of the store’s Morgan Hill locations, in which a man wearing a hoodie approached women while walking to or sitting in their parked cars at night and tried to assault them. 

The suspect, of whom Morgan Hill police released a sketch at the time, was frightened away by the screaming victims or passersby in all three incidents, before causing serious injuries. 

Sierra, a 15-year-old cheerleader who attended Sobrato High School, has been missing since March 16. Police think she was kidnapped and murdered by Garcia Torres, 21 of Morgan Hill, even though her body has not been recovered. 

Investigators think Sierra was kidnapped the morning of March 16 as she was walking to her usual school bus stop near her home in north Morgan Hill. 

Investigators have said that DNA evidence from both Sierra and the suspect place the two together. 

The teen’s family and volunteers continue to search for Sierra, with group efforts organized every Wednesday and Saturday at Burnett Elementary School. 

Another Gilroy incident occurred Aug. 3, 2011, that appears to be unrelated to the July incident, in which a 20- to 25-year-old Hispanic male attempted to lure three children 15 years old and younger to a local restaurant. Police have not released a sketch of that suspect, but he was described as 5-foot, 8-inches tall and about 160 pounds.

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