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Detectives Hope High-Resolution Sonar Will Uncover New Evidence in LaMar Case

The previously used sonar equipment was outdated and wasn’t functioning properly during water searches in the Sierra LaMar case.

 

Detectives are returning to Chesbro Reservoir today with new, high-resolution sonar equipment that they hope will uncover previously-missed clues in the disappearance of Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar.  

“The detectives wanted them to review Chesbro because the first time it was [searched] with old equipment,” Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department said. “Detectives are hoping if the dive team goes again they may be able to locate some additional evidence related to the Sierra LaMar case.”

Detectives believe Sierra, 15, was linking him to the teen’s multi-month disappearance.

Cardoza said the new and improved technology, with a price stamp of $40,000, provides better quality sonar images that allow divers to “distinguish questionable areas or objects that they weren’t able to distinguish as good with the old equipment.”

Divers were previously searching reservoirs in Morgan Hill with 12-year-old sonar equipment, which is why there were some “breaks and pauses” with water searches over the last month, Cardoza said. 

“It was outdated and it started to not function properly during the middle of the Sierra LaMar case when water searches were going on,” he said. “It started to delay dive teams in some of the water searches, so we started exploring with getting new sonar so the dive team could be more efficient.”

The department’s new, state-of-the-art sonar equipment was paid for with privately-donated funds, half of which came from private donors from the Sheriff’s Advisory Board of Santa Clara County, Cardoza said. 

The Sheriff's Office had previously , but are now scheduling more searches to re-canvass South County reservoirs. Divers are expected to be at Chesbro throughout the week, and re-canvassed Uvas Reservoir with the new sonar a few weeks ago. 

Cardoza said the focus has recently been on Uvas and Chesbro reservoirs because they’re both located close to the area where Sierra’s personal items were found. The Sobrato High teen’s near Laguna Avenue and Santa Teresa Boulevard days after her March 16 disappearance, and her cell phone was found 20 to 30 feet off the roadway near Santa Teresa Boulevard and Scheller Avenue, just a couple blocks from where her bag was located.

Detectives are maintaining their because they “don’t have evidence that Sierra ever left” Morgan Hill, Cardoza said. 

Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, . Garcia-Torres will be represented by a new attorney during his next court appearance on July 31, after his former public defender, . 

Since Garcia-Torres’ arrest, Gilroy police have . But police cannot say whether the identified suspect is Garcia-Torres. 

For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page on Gilroy Patch.

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