Volunteer numbers dwindling in search for Sierra LaMar

April 18, 2012 7:16:56 PM PDT
Despite some new leads, the number of volunteers searching for missing teen Sierra LaMar has been dwindling. The sheriff's dive team returned Wednesday to search some ponds just south of the Coyote Creek Golf Course in Morgan Hill. Organizers at the search center are using new tactics to recruit more volunteers to help.

Search organizers say the media and social media have been instrumental in raising awareness about Sierra's case. While the family is following developments, people behind the scenes at the search center are recruiting volunteers in Spanish.

Steve LaMar is a father both worried and encouraged. He's hopeful the information sheriff detectives got back from the crime lab will help find his daughter who's been missing for more than a month.

"All they told us is forensic results, hatever it is we are still happy, whatever it is, because we've got something at least to go on now," LaMar said.

As dive teams thoroughly explore the perculation ponds and reservoirs near Sierra's home, there is an aggressive push at the Sierra search center as well. Nearly a third of Santa Clara County's population is Latino and one dedicated volunteer says her community is underrepresented in the ground searches.

"I was talking to the Spanish media that Hispanics have maybe 10 percent volunteered out of the 3,000," search center volunteer Irma Mireles said.

Mireles says her grandson rode the school bus with Sierra and is doing interviews in Spanish to increase awareness about the search for the 15-year-old girl.

This is the first time Alberto Gomez has volunteered.

"I think that's basic human nature, everybody wants to help out a little bit as long as it's convenient or if people have the ability to come out, then they should," Gomez said.

Sierra's family says it is following the underwater search effort and is grateful that skilled professionals are using high-tech sonar equipment to cover territory hidden from view.

"That's one thing we have is confidence after we leave these bodies of water that there is no evidence that we're leaving behind," sheriff's dive team member Lt. Dan Rodriguez said. "If it's there we're finding it."

Sierra's family says it feels very blessed by all of the community's support and hopes that once again hundreds of people will turn out for this weekend's volunteer searches.

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