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Sierra LaMar search gets help from Marc Klaas, Michael Le

March 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of tips, but no solid leads in the search for missing teenager Sierra LaMar who vanished over a week ago. Volunteers are organizing a big search effort for Tuesday, and the family is getting help from two men who have been down this agonizing road themselves.

Michael Le is one of the foot soldiers in the search for Sierra LaMar. He understands the pain too well. His sister Michele Le disappeared last year.

"I see my family in them. I see their minds strained," Le said. "I see them hurting."

Marc Klaas also knows that hurt. His daughter Polly was kidnapped and killed in 1993. His foundation is supporting Sierra's family and helping to set up a community volunteer search center.

"We have learned over the years, the best ways, the best protocols, the best techniques of conducting a community-based search," Klaas said.

The 15-year-old disappeared on the morning of Friday, Mar. 16. Her cellphone and purse were found in two locations near the family's rural Morgan Hill home. The FBI is now involved in the case. Despite 350 tips so far, there are no solid leads as to what happened to Sierra.

"It must be heart-wrenching for the family to have no answers the worst possible thing is not knowing, so if we can help in any way find answers for the family, that's what we want to do," Morgan Hill resident Shelly Cosentino said.

So far, all of the search efforts have involved trained volunteers with the sheriff's search and rescue team. This will be the first opportunity for community members to take part in the ground search for evidence.

"Must be 18 years of age or older, must bring in a driver's license and please dress appropriately for the field," search operations director Brad Dennis advised.

The community has already rallied behind the search for Sierra, passing out flyers, putting up pink ribbons and holding candlelight vigils. They are ready for any call to action.

"If it's in the office or out in the field, whatever they need, I will definitely be here to help," Morgan Hill resident Joelene Chavez said.

Unlike his sister, Le is hoping Sierra is found safe and alive.

"It's a labor of love," he said. "It hurts to do, this but at the same time it feels really good to be able to help the family."

The Find Sierra Search Center will be sending out volunteers beginning Tuesday at 8 a.m. and conducting searches through Sunday.

The search center is located at 85 Tilton Avenue in Morgan Hill. If you would like to volunteer in the search efforts, call 408-201-6364.


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