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May 24, 2022

LaMar murder suspect charged in 2009 grocery store incidents

Authorities have accused the suspect in the Sierra LaMar murder case of three unrelated attempted kidnappings from 2009.

Antolin Garcia Torres, 21, of Morgan Hill, was charged Tuesday on suspicion of three attempted kidnappings in 2009 at two Safeway grocery stores in Morgan Hill.

The suspect, who was unidentified until Garcia Torres was arrested in May on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering of Sierra LaMar, approached three separate women at night in the parking lots of the Safeway stores, police said. Police alleged he entered the vehicles by force and attempted to assault the women, using a stun gun in one of the incidents.
The three incidents happened over a two-week period in March 2009. Police said the attacker seemed to target the female victims randomly, and did not know them.
When Garcia Torres was arrested in May of this year for his alleged involvement in the disappearance of Sierra LaMar, 16, Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a press conference that Garcia Torres was also tied by DNA evidence to at least one of the 2009 incidents.
Garcia Torres was charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office Tuesday with three felony counts of attempted kidnapping during the commission of a car jacking, according to Sean Webby of the DA’s office.
Although Garcia Torres was 17 at the time of the Safeway incidents, the court agreed to charge him as an adult for his involvement in the crimes, Webby said.
Garcia Torres also faces kidnapping and murder charges in the Sierra LaMar case. He has not yet entered a plea in that case.
Sierra was reported missing March 16, and authorities think she was kidnapped as she was walking to her school bus stop about a half-mile from her mother’s house, near the intersection of Palm and Dougherty avenues in north Morgan Hill.
DNA evidence found in Garcia Torres’ car and on some of Sierra’s belongings found near her house placed the two together, though they did not know each other before Sierra disappeared, investigators said.
Sierra’s remains have not been found, and volunteers continue to search for evidence of her whereabouts.
Garcia Torres, who is being held without bail, is next scheduled to appear in court for the murder charge and the 2009 attempted kidnapping charges Dec. 10 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.

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