Although authorities are currently treating the disappearance of Sierra LaMar as a kidnapping and murder, KlassKids Founder Marc Klaas isn’t convinced the public should be searching for a body.
Klaas said several factors lead him to believe Sierra could be alive: The suspect, Antolin Garcia-Torres, doesn’t have a history of violence against women or children aside from one case that was dropped, a weapon hasn’t been found, and a cause of death hasn’t been reported.
Klaas, whose daughter Polly, was abducted in 1993 by a stranger from her mother's home in Petaluma, has been a missing-child advocate since that time. Polly was killed by Richard Allen Davis, a parolee with a long criminal record that included kidnapping and assault.
Garcia-Torres' most violent incident on record is an alleged , although official charges have yet to be filed. Morgan Hill police have evidence positively linking Garcia-Torres to the assault. Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Troy Hoefling said a report is being prepared for the District Attorney to review, and that it will be completed very soon in the near future.
Perhaps the most important reason Klaas says he believes Sierra may still be alive is because the teen's body hasn't been found. The , Thursday, but detectives haven't identified it yet.
“Let’s say you have children and you’ve gone through some hideous situation and the police call and say this is the guy who did it. You ask, ‘Does he have a murder conviction, or a history of crime against women and children?' They say ‘well, there was one incident but it was dropped.’ You ask, ‘Do you have a weapon or a body?’ They say ‘No.’ Then what you're doing is giving me an opinion, based on circumstantial evidence that's found,” he said.
Although , authorities can't release specific details because the investigation is ongoing. Sierra's disappearance is being investigated as a homicide, because of and information that hasn't been released to the public, Sheriff Sgt. Jose Cardoza said.
The , nontheless, allows many to hold out hope that she is alive.
“They’ve been vague with telling us what they have. They say they have his DNA on her bag, that they can place her in his car,” Klaas said. “Based on what I’ve heard, they haven’t made the case that this girl is 100 percent dead.”
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page on Gilroy Patch.