Volunteer searches for Sierra LaMar still going strong

A member of Santa Clara County Search and Rescue looks through a field off Llagas Avenue in San Martin for any evidence in the disappearance of Sierra LaMar.

Ongoing search efforts to find missing Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar continue to take place every Wednesday and Saturday at Burnett Elementary School, located at 85 Tilton Ave. in Morgan Hill.

All volunteers must register at Burnett between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. the day of the search, which usually wraps up around 1 p.m. prior to debriefing.

Volunteer turnout as of late has held a steady average of around 60 to 70 people, according to one of the volunteers.

Anyone who is 18 or older with a valid ID can help. Volunteers should wear long pants and sturdy, toe-covered shoes. Searches take place by foot and cover various types of terrain, including fields and dense woods. Consider bringing a small backpack to carry water and snacks, bug spray and pre-poison oak lotion, a hiking stick and gloves. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and water are provided to all volunteers.

For additional search information, please call 408-201-6364.

As for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which has led the investigation since Sierra went missing March 16, authorities do not have any planned search efforts coming up, according to Sgt. Jose Cardoza.

While scouring earth and water in the first two months of Sierra’s disappearance for any sign of the teen’s whereabouts, in early June sheriff’s investigators scaled the efforts back. Authorities are now only to responding to new tips and leads.

“We haven’t had any significant updates in the case, which is still an open investigation right now,” said Cardoza Tuesday.

There is still a core group of 40 investigators assigned to he case, however, according to Cardoza.

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

The teen was likely kidnapped while she was walking to her school bus stop near the intersection of Palm and Dougherty avenues in north Morgan Hill, according to police.

Torres’s next plea hearing is 9:30 a.m. July 31 in the San Jose Hall of Justice.

Visit the Sierra LaMar search homepage by clicking here.

Upcoming fundraiser

A “Bowl to Strike Down Crimes Against Children” on behalf of Sierra LaMar will take place from 5:30 p.m. to midnight at Lucky Strike, located at 200 King Street in San Francisco.

Sponsored by KlaasKids Foundation, whose mission is to stop crimes against children, the event invites supporters to “come play games and mingle for a good cause.”

Bowling lanes will be open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. There are 24 limited spots at a cost of $30 per ticket, which includes lane fees, bowling rentals, a snack and non-alcoholic beverages. The value of each ticket is approximately $60.

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