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Reward raised to $35,000 in case of missing teen Sierra LaMar

June 13, 2012 | 11:50 am

Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith announces the arrest of Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, in connection with the disappearance of Sierra LaMar in May.

The family of Sierra LaMar, the Bay Area teenager presumed dead after she was allegedly kidnapped, announced a $35,000 reward Wednesday for information on the 15-year-old's whereabouts or a conviction in the case.

Steve LaMar, Sierra's father, told reporters in Morgan Hill that an existing $25,000 reward would be increased in hopes the extra money would "motivate someone who's been reluctant to come forward," the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Steve LaMar was joined by his daughter, Danielle, and crime victim advocate Marc Klaas, at Burnett Elementary School, where volunteers gathered Wednesday before a scheduled search.

"We really want Sierra back home with us," LaMar said. "We want them to find it in their heart, if it was their daughter or sister that was missing, we'd do that for them."

The high school cheerleader disappeared on her way to her Morgan Hill school March 16, authorities said. Her cellphone and a bag containing her clothes were found nearby in the following days.

Last month, officials arrested a 21-year-old man they said kidnapped and killed the 15-year-old. Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith said suspect Antolin Garcia-Torres' DNA was found on the bag.

Investigators said they believe Garcia-Torres, a Morgan Hill resident, picked LaMar at random. He has been charged with murder.

Crews combed the area where LaMar was last seen, including several searches of area reservoirs. Earlier this month, authorities conducted what they called their final underwater sweep, saying future searches would be conducted based on tips and leads.

LaMar's family, along with Klaas, continue to search the area.

Although her body has not been found, Smith said last month that detectives have "strong facts" that indicate she was killed.

"These are very, very difficult cases to prosecute, a homicide when you have not found a victim," she said. "But it has been done."

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— Kate Mather
twitter.com/katemather

Photo: Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith announces the arrest of Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, in connection with the disappearance of Sierra LaMar in May. Credit: Gary Reyes/Associated Press

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