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Searches Scaled Back To Saturdays In Sierra LaMar Case

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Sierra LaMar

Sierra LaMar (Santa Clara Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)

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MORGAN HILL (CBS SF) — For nearly six months volunteers have been searching twice a week for missing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar, but starting next week search efforts will be reigned back to only Saturdays, according to Marc Klaas, the head of search organization KlaasKids Foundation.

Sierra was last seen on March 16 and never arrived to her Morgan Hill high school that day.

Since her disappearance, KlaasKids has organized search efforts on Wednesday and Saturdays, but according to Klaas, “Search planners are having an increasingly difficult time coming up with viable search locations.”

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Instead of organizing volunteers to comb through areas around Santa Clara County mid-week, planners will spend the day scouting and researching good locations to hold searches on Saturdays, Klaas said.

“Nothing is being scaled back,” he said, “But we are suspending Wednesday searches so we can focus more on Saturday searches.”

Klaas said turnout has been “incredible” even months after extensive searches. Nearly 40 volunteers consistently show up to the search center set up at Burnett Elementary School at 85 Tilton Ave. in Morgan Hill.

Klaas, whose own daughter, Polly, was found murdered in a search effort months after she went missing in Petaluma in 1993, has since helped with various kidnapped children efforts, and said he has never seen a case maintain such a strong bi-weekly volunteer effort.

He emphasized the schedule change “has much less to do with the enthusiasm of volunteers,” many of which he said were upset to hear about the end of Wednesday searches.

Many have joined in the searches since March, including U.S. representatives Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose.

This Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the second annual Hot Cars and Guitars Tour in Hollister will hold a raffle with all proceeds going toward the KlaasKids Foundation to support the search for Sierra LaMar.

Also on Saturday, a regularly scheduled search meeting at the Find Sierra Search Center will begin at 8 a.m.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and bring photo identification.

As the search for Sierra continues, Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, has been charged with her murder after DNA evidence believed to be Sierra’s was found in his car. He was arrested on May 21.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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