Until now, most of the search efforts have focused on Morgan Hill and north of the edge of San Jose. The sheriff's office said no specific lead led them to the area, but said it is an important search location nonetheless.
15 members of the volunteer sheriff's search and rescue team were at it again Thursday, this time in Gilroy and San Martin. It was their sixth official assignment on this case. "Today's work is a natural extension of the work, and we're trying to continue out through a significant distance, more than 10 miles away from where the incident occurred," search director Jeff Thomas said.
The incident, of course, is the disappearance of Sierra from her Morgan Hill home on March 16. Thursday's official search team utilized three K-9 units including Dakar, a 5-year-old boxer with special skills. "She's a trailing dog, fundamentally, but she also specializes in both human remains detection and particularly, water detection," Rhonda Dyer explained.
Sierra's cell phone and purse were found within miles of her home on the weekend following her disappearance. A volunteer searcher discovered the latest potential evidence: Two used condoms and a box marked handcuffs. It is all being tested. "The primary areas that the criminalists are looking for are latent prints, DNA evidence, and trace evidence. Trace evidence could be hair fibers," Sgt. Jose Cardoza said.
Cardoza says there are still more than 40 detectives working the tips coming in to the hotline and there will be another community-wide search on Saturday. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and his wife Elizabeth will participate in Saturday's search, along with other 49ers players.
The search effort is also getting some new high tech help. QR codes, or quick response codes, are now being put onto posters of the missing girl. The codes can be scanned using an app on any smartphone. Once a person scans it, they can easily access detailed photos and vital information about Sierra. They can also contact the Santa Clara Sheriff's tip line with one click.
Anyone with information on the case can contact investigators at 408-808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431 -- or email email@example.com .