Search for Sierra goes on; Police examine evidence

(KGO)
March 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Sierra LaMar, 15, disappeared two weeks ago Friday, on her way to school in Morgan Hill and search teams are not giving up. Professionals and hundreds of volunteers continue to look for her. One operation wrapped up Friday and another will gear up for the weekend.

Police are examining what they hope will be a valuable find in the search. On Thursday, one of the volunteers found a box that said "Stainless Steel Handcuffs" on the side and contained used condoms. The items were found less than two miles from where the Sierra disappeared two weeks ago. The sheriff's office called the items "suspicious" and will test them. Whether they have anything to do with her disappearance or not remains to be seen and won't be known for at least a few weeks.

Either way, both volunteer search teams and Sierra's family were very aware of the potential evidence Friday. "If it turns out to help us find her, that would be great, but I'm cautious," Sierra's father Steve LaMar said. So too are the professionals. "That tems could've easily been placed out there after Sierra disappeared, has no bearing on Sierra, really, time will tell," search operations director Brad Dennis said.

Santa Clara County investigators know the importance of the find, if any, would not be coming in immediately, the way it might in a movie or TV show. "It's not something where you have a 24-hr turnaround period on that," explained Sgt. Jose Cardoza. "It's, sometimes, a couple weeks process to get any results back."

Sierras aunt and uncle from Maine were there Friday. "At times like this, the family has to come together for support," said her uncle Terry LaMar. Sierra's adopted family is now in the thousands, with hundreds of volunteers showing up every day to help in the search for evidence. "That's the mission and that's what we are out here for, to find whatever clues we can to bring her home," volunteer Andrea Bottazzo said.

The search center has become a well-oiled machine with donations coming in by the truckload gearing up for a massive weekend turnout. "I have not come across anybody who isn't willing to do something. The community has been wonderful," donation coordinator Karah Silacci said.

The biggest gift has been people's time and the generosity is, at times, overwhelming. Founder of KlaasKids Foundation Marc Klaas, which is coordinating the volunteer search and the man whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and killed in Petaluma in 1993, is amazed for the turnout for Sierra. "Since Polly disappeared 19 years ago, I've not seen people turn out in these large numbers. I think it's absolutely amazing. They're setting a new standard and I hope communities all over the United States are watching this," he said.

For Sierra's family, the community's support could literally be felt across the country. "I'm telling them who I am because I want them to know that the family just appreciates them so much," said Sierra's aunt Barbara Moran.

On Saturday searchers will take to all terrain vehicles and search remote off road areas in the west hills. There is also a "Bring Sierra Home" peace march at a local community centre on Saturday. KlassKids organizers say they will continue this massive search thru Sunday.

If you are interested in participating in this search, it will continue again on Saturday and Sunday. The headquarters is the old Burnett Elementary School in Morgan Hill. The first shifts of searchers begin going out at 8 a.m., but volunteers can arrive later than that.


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