Antolin Garcia-Torres’ sisters, Lucero and Alondra Garcia, believe their brother’s arrest in the kidnapping and murder of Sierra LaMar is a “misunderstanding” that began with detectives misleading the media, and the media subsequently misleading the public.
“I feel like the media was lied to by police from the beginning, because they’ve had his car, he’s been compliant—yet these little things they’re not bringing out to everyone,” Lucero, 26, said.
The rationale behind the sisters’ belief is partly based on information they say was inaccurately communicated to the public, like the date their brother’s Volkswagen was seized.
“They had it previous to the date that they said they found it,” Alondra said.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Cardoza confirmed that the VW was confiscated at an earlier time than the date disclosed to the media. Authorities had the vehicle in their custody on April 7—the day they asked the public to relay any past sightings of it in Santa Clara County—but
“We did have it in our possession, but detectives weren’t ready to make that information public, and that’s because there was still work being conducted,” Cardoza said. “We never mislead anybody, whether it be the public, reporters or anyone in journalism. Were we vague initially? ... Yeah."
The vagueness surrounding the LaMar case is another reason the sisters believe the public is being deceived by authorities.
Lucero and Alondra question how their brother could be charged in Sierra's murder when authorities “don’t have enough substantial evidence that you can actually connect.”
“There’s no body, there’s no blood, there’s no weapon. If they don’t tell us, how are we supposed to know what’s going on?” Lucero said.
The lack of evidence, or lack of disclosure of the evidence, leads Lucero and Alondra to believe their brother isn’t guilty.
“I know they found DNA in his car, but it still doesn’t state the fact that he murdered her,” Alondra said.
Explaining Antolin’s DNA on Sierra’s Clothing
Authorities moved in to arrest Antolin after finding Sierra’s DNA on his VW, and further believe he’s responsible for the teen’s murder and kidnapping based on traces of the suspect’s DNA on Sierra’s clothing and because of circumstantial evidence.
However, Lucero and Alondra, along with the rest of their brother’s family and close friends, continue to deny any possibility that Antolin could be responsible. Instead, they refer to their brother’s curiosity to explain how Antolin’s DNA could be found on Sierra’s clothing.
Lucero said Antolin would often retrieve objects from the ground during his hikes and fishing trips at Anderson Reservoir and other areas in Morgan Hill, and wonders if her brother could have come across Sierra’s clothing during one of his excursions.
“What if he was just walking by, picked [Sierra’s clothing] up and then just put it back?” she said. “What if he was fishing around that area and happened to come across it?”
Antolin's Protective, Sisters Say
Despite Antolin’s criminal background—which includes —his sisters believe the crimes have been “mis-said through the media” and contend that their brother is not violent.
The victim in the June 16 felony battery was Antolin’s sister’s boyfriend, who was beaten after pushing Antolin “to the limit,” Lucero said.
Antolin was also charged with a misdemeanor for resisting, delaying and obstructing a peace officer during an altercation at Garcia-Torres' residence on May 29, 2009, but Lucero says her brother was just protecting her daughter who was almost knocked over when police rushed into the house to arrest one of their friends.
“I know that they put it as obstructing, but he was just being protective about it. I mean, who runs into your home, through the house, almost knocking a little infant over,” Lucero said. “The two incidents that happened, he was being protective—that’s all it was.”
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith announced that Garcia-Torres may be linked to three assaults that occurred at two Safeway’s in Morgan Hill during Tuesday’s press conference. Three women—two white and one Hispanic—were assaulted during a seven-day period in the Safway parking lots in 2009.
On Wednesday, Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Troy Hoefling told Patch that , but Lucero believes the police are mistaken.
“She came out on the news and said that somebody was punching her or tasing her, but I don’t think that has anything to do with him,” Lucero said. “Someone was saying that there were other attempts at a different Safeway store, but I don’t think he has anything to do with that.”
Attempted Gilroy Kidnappings and 2009 Morgan Hill Rape
Gilroy Patch readers have asked whether the could be linked to Garcia-Torres. The attempted kidnappings took place one week apart, with the first one occurring June 26 and the other on August 4.
Gilroy Police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said local authorities are aware of Garcia-Torres’ arrest, and that they’re currently looking into the investigations to see if they’re connected. Garcia-Torres’ sisters, however, continue to defend their brother’s innocence.
“They think they have their guy, and then all of a sudden something else comes up, then there’s all these missing cases, and just because they think he’s the cause of this one, they’re trying to pin it all on him,” Lucero said.
“I think it’s just scaring people that they don’t know what’s going on, and they’re just trying to come up with conclusions,” Alondra added.
Readers have also asked whether Garcia-Torres could be linked to the rape of a woman who was jogging down a popular Morgan Hill trail on Dec. 15, 2009. Hoefling said Wednesday that any connection with the rape and Garcia-Torres has been ruled out.