Missing teen Sierra LaMar remembered at Fremont bench dedication

A bench was dedicated to Sierra LaMar on Sunday as family and friends shared memories about the teen who remains missing.
March 16, 2014 6:27:06 PM PDT
Two years ago, a teenager disappeared from Morgan Hill, galvanizing a community to take action and search. To this day, those searches continue. And the mystery of what happened to Sierra LaMar remains.

On Sunday, a bench ws dedicated to her as family and friends recalled fond memories of a girl who still remains missing.

The teen is believed to be dead by police but the family is clinging to hope. There have been more than 500 searches for her body. This bench is a reminder that she is not forgotten.

Prayer balloons were released two years to the date that Sierra LaMar disappeared. The bench was dedicated by friends to honor her. It sits on the grounds of a school the 15-year-old once attended.

"It's a true blessing and amazing to know that Sierra hasn't been forgotten by her community," said the teen's mother, Marlene LaMar.

The circular bench wraps around a tree at Washington High School in Fremont. Sierra spent her freshman and part of her sophomore years there before moving to Morgan Hill.

"This tribute to her means a lot to us as a family, that her memory goes on," Marlene said.

Her family, friends, and former classmates make it clear -- Sierra may be gone, but she is not forgotten.

"She means a lot to us," said Sierra's friend, Cheyenne Wels. "She was on our cheer squad and it was really hard when she left."

Sierra LaMar disappeared on the morning of March 16, 2012 while walking to the bus stop. The 15-year-old hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Antolin Garcia-Torres was arrested in 2012 and charged with her kidnapping and murder after authorities said they found Sierra's DNA in the 22-year-old's Volkswagen Jetta. At his arraignment in February, Garcia-Torres, pleaded not guilty to Sierra's murder and is currently in the Santa Clara County Jail.

But Sunday was not about him. It was about the girl who belongs to everyone who gathered to honor her memory.

"It was an honor to do this," Tom Malpede said.

Golden State Lumber of Newark donated the supplies for the bench and Malpede of Fremont-based Malpede Construction built it.

"All the kids that can walk by and see everything and remember that it can happen to anybody and try and protect yourselves," Malpede said.

"I tell her that you've made a difference," Marlene said. "You've affected a lot of people, even people you don't know."

The message on the plaque is simple and heartfelt. It reads, "Sit here with me quietly, you'll never be alone. We wait to see your smile again and have our Husky home. Dedicated to Sierra LaMar and the memory of all missing children. March 16th, 2014."

If you would like to be a volunteer to help search for Sierra, click here.


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