Vigil Wednesday night for missing teen Sierra LaMar

Pink balloons flooded the sky Monday night in Morgan Hill at a vigil held at Burnett Elementary School to mark the one month anniversary since Sierra LaMar went missing. 

Volunteers as well as friends and family of Sierra LaMar will have a vigil at City Hall Wednesday to raise funds for the ongoing efforts to find the missing teen, and to bring awareness to her disappearance which is approaching the six-month mark.

The “Light the Night” vigil will begin at about 8 p.m. at Morgan Hill City Hall, 17555 Peak Ave. The public is invited.

Volunteers at the Sierra Search Center at Burnett Elementary School, 85 Tilton Ave., will be selling LED votives for $5 each at the school all day Wednesday, where search efforts coordinated by the KlaasKids Foundation will take place throughout the day.

Participants are encouraged to wear glow-in-the-dark bracelets which will also be available at the school. Posters, T-shirts and “anything else to show your support” are also encouraged, organizer Jennifer Koziel said.

Transportation will be available from the search center to City Hall, and carpooling is encouraged. Anyone who needs a ride from the search center should be there by 7:30 p.m.

Sierra, 15, has been missing since March 16, when police say she was kidnapped on the way to her school bus stop near Palm and Dougherty avenues, and likely later murdered. Sierra was a sophomore at Sobrato High School at the time of her disappearance.

Koziel, 33, will fly out from Chicago to host the vigil. After hearing about Sierra’s case in the news, Koziel was moved enough to fly to Morgan Hill in June to participate in the volunteer search efforts for about a week.

Koziel does not know Sierra and did not have any connection to her family before hearing about the case, but she was inspired to react out of a need to help a hurting family, and to do what she can to prevent similar future incidents.

“It’s an epidemic – every day girls are going missing,” said Koziel, a human resources professional. “The laws protect the perpetrator, and not the victims. I just said I have to do something, and take a stand.”

She added on her first trip to Morgan Hill in June she “made a whole new family” among the volunteers she worked with.

“It was a great experience,” Koziel said.

All funds raised at the vigil will go to the Sierra LaMar Search Fund.

Organizers will start the vigil by playing some of Sierra’s favorite songs over a PA system, and some people will speak before the vigil moves into the courtyard adjacent to City Hall, Koziel said.

Every attendee will be asked to place their luminary on the ground “until we have filled the entire court with light,” Koziel said.

For more information about Wednesday’s vigil, go to www.findsierralamar.com, or by sending an email to [email protected]

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