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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Antolin Garcia-Torres, Suspect in Sierra LaMar Slaying, Did Not Know Teen, Police Say (Video)

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM

click to enlarge Antolin Garcia-Torres
  • Antolin Garcia-Torres

(Update 11:15 a.m.): Police held a news conference this morning with reporters where they said the Sierra LaMar abduction was "purely random." Read the update after the jump.

Santa Clara County authorities had a major break in the Sierra LaMar case last night when they arrested 21-year-old Antolin Garcia-Torres on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering the 15-year-old Morgan Hill girl who has been missing for more than two months.

Garcia-Torres, a San Martin resident, was arrested yesterday evening at the Safeway store on Tennant Avenue in Morgan Hill where he worked. Although authorities have not found LaMar's body, the murder charge confirms what everyone had feared -- that the Morgan Hill teen is dead.

Authorities will hold a press conference this morning to give more details about the case, and LaMar's family is expected to be there. What police could say is that they found Garcia-Torres' DNA on LaMar's clothing that was found on the side of the road a few days after she went missing, KTVU-2 reported.

He is also the owner of the red Jetta that police impounded after surveillance video from nearby businesses caught the vehicle on camera the day LaMar went missing.

Sierra Lamar
  • Sierra Lamar

"We have a lot of physical evidence" Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters last night. She noted that despite the fact they have no body, they arrested the suspect because "we don't want to see anyone else hurt or any other little girls taken.

Smith pleaded with the community to continue looking for LaMar's body.

LaMar was last seen on March 16 as she was getting ready for school. She was supposed to catch her bus, but she never made it to class that day. Police later found her cellphone and Juicy purse with her clothes inside on the side of the road -- in the opposite direction of her school bus.

We'll give you more details after today's press conference.

UPDATE: Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters this morning that the suspect, Garcia-Torres, did not know LaMar, and this was a stranger abduction. According to the Chronicle, police confirmed it was his DNA on LaMar's clothing which was found a few days after she went missing. They have had Garcia-Torres, who has a wife and a baby, on 24-hour surveillance since March 28, hoping he might lead police to her body.

But police decided to arrest him yesterday, fearing he might discover the cops were watching him and flee. The Chron talked to Garcia-Torres' neighbors at a San Martin trailer park, who said the family was quiet and kept to themselves.  

Police would not say what sort of DNA evidence they found on LaMar's clothing, however, it was definitely not blood, Smith noted to reporters. What's more, police said they have no motive for the slaying, and reiterated that this was a random act of violence.

However, Garcia-Torres' family talked to the press this morning, and assured reporters that police have the wrong guy. Watch the interview with his sister.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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