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Search for missing teen Sierra LaMar intensifies in California


Facebook.com/help.find.sierra image of missing teen Sierra LaMar.

Dozens of law enforcement officials are combing an area of Morgan Hill, Calif., Saturday as the search for missing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar continues.

Santa County sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Jose Cardoza said with deputies from nearby counties called in to help, about 90 personnel and several search dogs were combing a 12-mile radius of the community.

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LaMar, a 15-year-old Sobrato High School student, was last seen the morning of Friday, March 16. She had school that day, but never got on the bus.

The girl has been the subject of a major search over the last week, involving the FBI, helicopters, dogs, roadblocks and divers.

Cardoza said Saturday's search is the biggest mounted since Sierra was reported missing more than a week ago.

The day of LaMar's disappearance, her school's automated attendance system notified her mother, Marlene LaMar, that her daughter didn't show up for classes.

The next day, searchers found her cell phone along the side of the road near Palm and Dougherty Avenue, near her home in unincorporated Morgan Hill.

"The cellphone was intact, it wasn't broken," Sgt. Jose Cardoza said. "There's no evidence to lead to a crime after that."

Then on the Sunday after LaMar's disappearance, searchers found her black and pink Juicy brand purse near the intersection of Laguna and Santa Teresa in Morgan Hill, about two miles from her home, Cardoza said.

Inside the purse was a pair of pants, a shirt, a bra and a pair of underwear. The clothing was neatly folded inside the purse.

Steve LaMar, the girl's father, is a registered sex offender. But the Santa Clara County Sheriff's office said he was not a suspect in her disappearence.

"I understand the stigma associated with this in my background, and I assure everyone it is not connected in any way to my daughter’s disappearance," he said. "I ask that you please not shift the focus away from the investigation and from finding Sierra."

Hundreds of people in the communities of Morgan Hill and Fremont gathered Friday night for a candlelight vigil for LaMar.

Since the weekend LaMar went missing, the search team has been looking for clues that might point to a crime. But investigators have found no signs of foul play and no indication she ran away.


Facebook.com/help.find.sierra image of missing teen Sierra LaMar.

Police conducted consent searches of neighbors' homes and a three-mile search radius was set up around LaMar's home, police said. Neighbors have been cooperative.

The FBI eventually joined local authorities in the search. A roadblock was set up on Dougherty Avenue near the intersection of Palm Avenue. Agents stopped every driver to ask questions about LaMar's disappearance.

"I'm hoping that you know, you think of her as your own child," Marlene LaMar said. "You know, she's, she was such a lovable young lady."

Anyone with information about Sierra or her whereabouts is asked to contact Santa Clara County Communications at (408) 299-2311. During business hours, tipsters can call sheriff's investigators at (408) 808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431. They also set up an email address for tips at: tips@sheriff.sccgov.org.

The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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