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Authorities Push Forward Despite Fruitless Searches in LaMar Case

The Sheriff's Office is in the process of conducting preliminary searches of bodies of water farther from the LaMar home, after last week's efforts failed to yield any leads.


Last week, underwater search and rescue units reviewed  in an attempt to find clues in Sierra LaMar's disappearance. Authorities deemed some objects as “suspicious” and had divers verify them, but the end result was more of the same—nothing.

“[Divers] covered each discrepancy they saw in the sonar and checked, and it was either a rock formation, long stumps or a tree they came across, but nothing related to the case,” said Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities are currently determining their next steps, which will begin with preliminary searches of additional bodies of water located outside the radius of the LaMar home. Calero and Anderson reservoirs, along with a body of streams known as Parkway Lakes north of Morgan Hill, will be searched via side scan sonar over the next few days and will be evaluated by divers if more suspicious items are detected.

However, deciphering possible objects of interest from common ones isn't an easy task, because investigators are looking for subtle inconsistencies in dark pools of water.

“From what I understand, when you look at these sonar images, all you see are shadows and [darkness],” Cardoza said. “It’s hard looking at sonars, [objects are often] shadows or something else. They come across the shadows of trees while looking for things that are out of place, and a lot of people throw their unwanted items into our reservoirs. What's unclear right now is if the divers are going to do any future diving.”

The Sierra LaMar case has been particularly challenging for authorities because of the lack of concrete information. Detectives have no idea whether the teen is dead or alive or if she’s even in Morgan Hill.

“We just don't have information at this time pointing one way or another, the only concrete info we have is that she was home on the 16th and then she leaves her house—where she went from there, we don't know,” Cardoza said. "Where we're at now, it's still a suspicious disappearance.”

The only theory currently surrounding the Sobrato High student’s disappearance is that she was abducted, which detectives reached based on interviews, and the teen’s history along with her family’s.

The Sheriff’s Office off-road enforcement team also conducted searches for the missing teen last week. Personnel rode dirt bikes through rural areas in the South County area, but didn’t find anything of value to the case.

Anyone with information on the Sierra LaMar case is asked to contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. Tipsters can call (408) 808-4500, the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431 or send a tip via email to tips@sheriff.sccgov.org.

For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page.

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WordsOfWisdom April 17, 2012 at 01:22 AM
At this time in the investigation into the disappearance of Sierra LaMar, it would make sense to bring in the same resource that was brought in to find Amber Dubois six months after she went missing. The dogs were able to trace and follow Amber even though she was put into a vehicle. It appears that Sierra got in or was put into a vehicle outside of her home seems the dogs that were first used, could not detect her scent once they got out of the driveway. The VK9 dogs could detect Sierra and should be used. Someone needs to contact the family to let them know that this resource is available. It would break their hearts to know that these resources were available and not used to help find their daughter.

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