Santa Clara Sheriff’s Sheriff Laurie Smith reported in a news conference that an arrest had been made in the case of missing teen Sierra LaMar. According to the sheriff, Antolin Garcia-Torres, age 21, was arrested and booked into the Santa Clara county jail on Monday evening.
According to Sheriff Smith, this was a “purely random” crime and that the suspect did not appear to know 15-year old Sierra LaMar. The link between Garcia-Torrez and the crime was DNA found on Sierra’s discarded clothing. The clothing was inside Sierra’s purse that was found on March 18 near Santa Teresa and Laguna Avenue, a short distance from where her phone was found the previous day.
The Sheriff stated that “direct and circumstantial evidence, including forensic evidence, have contributed” to their belief that Sierra was a victim of murder.
According to the Sheriff, Garcia-Torres attended Central High School in Morgan Hill and has one misdemeanor conviction for “interfering with an officer” as well as a separate arrest for assault that did not result in a conviction. A person’s prior record often plays an important part in law enforcement’s determination to classify the person as a suspect or a person of interest in a case. Depending on the nature of the prior record and the nature of the new case, the court may even allow a defendant’s prior record to be considered by a jury during a trial.
Sheriff Smith stated that Garcia-Torres had been under surveillance since March 28, the day that they were able to link him to Sierra’s discarded clothing.
Authorities have not said whether they are any closer to locating Sierra’s body.