Two years after Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar was last seen near the bus stop near her home, the search to find her continues.
Friends, family and even strangers have volunteered – and continue to volunteer – their time to bring Sierra home, hopeful that she is still alive. But it hasn’t been easy, especially for the LaMars.
Sierra’s father Steve LaMar, spoke with NBC Bay Area about his daughter and how the family is holding up two years after the disappearance.
“I am doing OK, it’s tough, especially at this time. It’s been very frustrating two years – we haven’t really found anything with the searches but we are still doing that,” Steve LaMar said.
LaMar described the length of the court process as “frustrating.”
“We were warned of that but it’s still frustrating,” he said, adding that the district attorney’s office had warned the family that high-profile murder cases could drag on for years.
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Twenty-two-year-old former supermarket employee Antolin Garcia-Torres was charged with Sierra’s kidnapping and murder and is currently in Santa Clara Jail. Garcia-Torres pleaded not guilty in February.
But the toughest part for the LaMars has probably been missing Sierra, and still not having any answers, LaMar said.
“Knowing that someone does know [what happened to Sierra] kind of makes it more frustrating,” he said.
Birthdays and family celebrations have been especially tough, LaMar said. Even though it has been two years since the disappearance, things have not gotten easier.
LaMar described his daughter as a fun loving, well-loved teenager with a big heart.
“She’s kinda goofy around her friends,” he said. "We’d joke around with her – she’d make fun of my quirks and music and I’d make fun of her quirks and music.”
LaMar said he and Sierra would often go watch animated movies like “Toy Story” together at the theater. “Because that’s what we both liked,” he said.
When the family receives news that investigators have received new tips on the case – recently divers reportedly searched a South Bay lake for evidence in the case – LaMar described the feeling as both “nervous and positive.”
“It’s still priority for the sheriff’s department and they are still doing that, so that’s positive,” he said. “But, yeah, any time something like that happens it makes me a little nervous. We don’t want them to find anything, really.”
LaMar said part of him really wants to believe that Sierra was kidnapped and is still alive.
“I am sticking with that until something happens.”
When asked whether he has any doubt that Garcia-Torres was involved, LaMar said, “he definitely knows something.”
“I think I’ll leave it at that and let the courts proceed,” he said. “I have faith and confidence in it even though it’s frustrating. I still have faith and confidence that we’ll have some answers and some justice in all this.”
LaMar said that the family has never gone to court to see Garcia-Torres during his preliminary appearances. “It’s a personal decision – I’ve talked about it with my family and pretty much all of us are not inclined to go until it’s necessary or basically until when the trial begins.”
When asked whether he had a message for Garcia-Torres, LaMar said “No.”
His message to the public: “Just keep hoping and help us to search for her.”
A dedicated group of about 25 volunteers still meets on Saturdays to search for Sierra in the Morgan Hill area.