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Divers complete final search for body of missing teen Sierra LaMar

June 5, 2012 |  6:08 am

Santa Clara County authorities conducted their final underwater search for the body of missing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar
Santa Clara County authorities conducted their final underwater search for the body of missing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar on Monday, and said future searches would be done on the basis of tips and leads.

Dive teams have scoured several reservoirs near the Morgan Hill home of the high school cheerleader, who investigators said was abducted March 16 on her way to school.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department took an additional look at Uvas Reservoir on Monday but had no significant findings to report by late afternoon, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza told the newspaper that the reservoir, along with Chesbro Reservoir, was one of the first searched after the girl's disappearance because they were closest to her home. Since then, he said, investigators have combed "just about every waterway" within a 12-mile radius of where the teenager was last seen.

Divers used side-scan sonar to search Coyote, Anderson and Almaden reservoirs, along with several small lakes and ponds on private property, but found no evidence related to the case, Cardoza said.

He said the Polly Klaas Foundation will continue organized land searches.

Last month, officials arrested a 21-year-old man they said kidnapped and killed the 15-year-old. Sheriff Laurie Smith said suspect Antolin Garcia-Torres' DNA was found on a bag of the girl's clothing discovered not far from where she was last seen.

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

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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Photo: Santa Clara County authorities prepare to search the shoreline of Calero Reservoir with a cadaver-sniffing dog in March, looking for the body of missing 15-year-old Sierra LaMar. Credit: Ben Margot / Associated Press