Volunteer refuses to give up hope for Sierra LaMar


The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department dive team went back into the water at Parkway Lakes. Divers used sonar equipment to look for anything unusual while 135 volunteers on the ground embarked on a search of their own.

Trudy Parks is what you would call a regular in the Sierra LaMar search effort. She has signed up for eight volunteer assignments, including one day of back-to-back excursions.

"By the end of that search I was out from 10 in the morning until 5:30 that evening and I was exhausted," Parks said.

LaMar, 15, disappeared from her Morgan Hill home on March 16. Since then, community searchers have logged more than 24,000 hours.

"It's something you've got in your heart or you don't have in your heart; you come once and don't do it again or you come once and say you've got to do it again," volunteer Carol Richardson said.

Many dedicated volunteers are motivated by emotion. In Parks' case, her own son went missing in 2003. It turned out he had taken his own life, but Parks says the personal tragedy gives her an idea of the family's heartache.

"It's tormenting not knowing where your child is," Parks said. "I went through it for 24 hours before they found my son. I can't imagine going though six or seven weeks of this."

Wednesday, a new sign went up at the search center reminding everyone their help is needed. Steve LaMar says the community's commitment is a huge source of support for the entire family.

"It really helps us cope," he said. "Me, Marlene and Danielle, to see people that dedicated to finding Sierra."

After seven long weeks, Parks says every search has her hoping they find something and also hoping they don't.

"You want to bring closure to the family, but you don't want to bring closure the hard way, you want to find something that will bring her home," Parks said.

Copyright © 2023 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.