A man in his 20’s identified as Antolin Garcia Torres has been arrested on suspicion of the kidnapping and murder of missing teenager Sierra La Mar from Morgan Hill, California who was last seen in March. The one lead police had was a red Volkswagen Jetta, the car that eventually led them to Garcia Torres.

Photo: Antolin Garcia Torres.

15 year-old Sierra La Mar was last seen on March 16, 2012 at about 6:00 a.m when she left her home in Morgan Hill, California on her way to Sobrato High School, but she never made it to the school. It is believed that she was abducted while she walked from home to catch the school bus near Palm and Dougherty Avenue. The only lead police has was a a four-door red Jetta caught on the surveillance cameras in the neighborhood.

A water and ground search took place on March 17 and 27. On those days personal items belonging to Sierra were found, including her cell phone and her backpack with her clothes neatly folded in it along with school books. But there was no suspect. The red Jetta was finally found in the beginning of May. It underwent forensic analysis, while police asked people to come forward with information about the person who owns this car. At the time, police were baffled:

“We don’t have a person of interest yet, so we’re hoping that some evidence, if anything that will be yielded from this car, will lead us in that direction. It is a significant development, obviously, that we do have the vehicle.”

Antolin Garcia Torres is, according to Laurie Smith from the Santa Clara police department, the owner of the red sedan. He was arrested on suspicion of abduction and murder of Sierra. Although no body has yet been recovered, police are suggesting she is no longer alive.

The suspect from San Martin, California was found not far from Sierra’s home. He was reportedly arrested at gunpoint at approximately 6:00 p.m at a Safeway store located on Tennant Avenue in Morgan Hill. He has been charged with one count of kidnapping and one count of murder and is being held at Santa Clara County Jail.

Police said they have a lot of physical evidence that points to Garcia Torres, DNA collected from the Jetta and Sierra’s personal items found on the side of the road a day after her disappearance point to the suspect. As always in these cases, note that defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. He will have his day in court, just as we can all hope that justice is eventually served for the sake of Sierra La Mar and her family.

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