LaMar family won't give up search for Sierra

May 23, 2012 6:07:26 PM PDT
The search for Sierra LaMar continued Wednesday. The focus was on the Uvas Reservoir, west of Morgan Hill.

More than 200 volunteers turned out to the volunteer search center at Burnett Elementary School to search for Sierra. Many of the searchers' ground assignments were near ponds or reservoirs.

The investigative facts of the case are up against a wall of emotion. As the LaMar family listened to Sheriff Laurie Smith talk about Sierra's case Tuesday, they held back tears. Today, Sierra's sister, Danielle, is not. "There is no body or confession," she said. "We have to hold on to what we have left."

The family and an army of volunteers are clinging to hope that Sierra is still alive. Even as the sheriff dive team continues looking in Uvas Reservoir for a body, Wednesday's community search effort began with a prayer and a mother's unwavering commitment to her daughter.

"Sierra is not considered gone until she is brought back to us," said Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar. "Finding Sierra is still wide open -- the case -- and I'm not giving up."

Investigators say DNA evidence links 21-year-old Antolin Garcia-Torres to Sierra's disappearance on Mar. 16 and to her murder. But until she is found, the family believes anything is possible. Sierra was missing for 12 days before the crime lab identified Garcia-Torres as a suspect and put him under 24-hour surveillance.

"I still hold out hope that she's alive still," said Sierra's father, Steve LaMar. "There were some days where they weren't watching him. Anything could have happened. Maybe he gave her to someone else who has her now."

For 69 days, the only focus has been on finding Sierra safe. The LaMars have done it with grace that defies the circumstances. Now the family has to process the arrest of Garcia-Torres.

"We have all those feelings, disgusted and shocked, surprised about his age, how young he is, that he has a family," said Sierra's sister. Mostly, though, Danielle is just thinking about Sierra. She misses her little sister and best friend. "The good times we had, like her laughing, that kind of stuff. That's what keeps me going."

Sierra's family is hoping that Garcia-Torres tells detectives where they can find Sierra. But if not, at least at this point, the family says it is not willing to make any deals for that information.

There will be no search this Saturday at the request of Sierra's parents, who say they want the volunteers to have the holiday weekend off.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact sheriff's investigators at (408) 808-4500 or call the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.


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