Sheriff’s personnel believe 21-year-old Antolin Garcia-Torres is responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar based her outgoing personality and forensic evidence found on his car and her discarded clothes.
The deciding factor in the Morgan Hill native’s Monday arrest was the forensic evidence linking Sierra LaMar to Garcia-Torres’ red Volkswagen Jetta.
However, forensic analysis identified Garcia-Torres as a suspect well before that time. Sierra’s recovered clothing and cell phone; her social personality; and her traces of DNA found on the Volkswagen all “contributed to the belief that Sierra is a victim of murder,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said during Tuesday’s press conference.
Investigators began a 24-hour surveillance on Garcia-Torres on March 28, the day investigators received the forensic results revealing the suspect’s DNA on Sierra’s clothing, Smith said.
Although Garcia-Torres’ DNA was linked to the clothing in Sierra’s Juicy bag, found two days after her March 16 disappearance, there still wasn’t enough evidence to justify an arrest at that time, Smith said.
Over the next month, investigators interviewed Garcia-Torres multiple times before seizing his vehicle on April 7 and arresting him Monday.
Although investigators believe Sierra was murdered, they face challenges with positively determining that Sierra’s a homicide victim because her body remains missing, Smith said.
“It’s difficult to process a homicide without the body,” Smith said.
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page on Gilroy Patch.