Plea hearing continued for suspect in Sierra case

Emma Spencer, from San Jose, decorates ribbons with Sierra LaMar's name Wednesday at the Sierra LaMar search headquarters at Burnett Elementary. Spencer has been volunteering since day one. "We get our comfort from her face smiling at us," says Spencer in

Antolin Garcia Torres, the Morgan Hill man accused of murdering missing cheerleader Sierra LaMar, did not appear in court Wendesday afternoon after the public defender’s office was granted a continuance of the plea hearing until Sept. 26.

Garcia Torres, 21, will appear at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose at 2 p.m. Sept. 26. He is charged with murder, with a special circumstance of kidnapping.

The suspect waived his right to appear at the previous court hearing July 31 and again today.

Sierra has been missing from her mother’s north Morgan Hill home since March 16. Santa Clara County sheriff’s investigators think she was kidnapped that morning while walking to her school bus stop near the intersection of Palm and Dougherty avenues.

Sierra, 15, was a sophomore at Sobrato High School at the time of her disappearance. She moved to Morgan Hill from Fremont with her mother and mother’s boyfriend about six months before she disappeared.

Garcia Torres was arrested May 21 for his alleged involvement in the crime.

Authorities have not found Sierra or her remains, but the district attorney thinks she is dead based on her lack of contact with anyone since her disappearance, and the fact that she has no means of independent financial support.

Sierra’s family and volunteers from the KlaasKids Foundation continue to search for her every Wednesday and Saturday. However, no searches are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 1, due to the Labor Day holiday, according to Sierra’s family.

Earlier this month, search coordinators, including KlaasKids founder Marc Klaas, reported a frustrating leveling off in search progress, and they need more information from investigators in order to potentially shift their tactics.

For more information about the search for Sierra, go to

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