Police have arrested a 21-year-old man who they suspect kidnapped and killed a California teenager who’s been missing for two months.
Hundreds of volunteers have spent hours searching for Sierra LaMar, a 15-year-old who hasn’t been seen or heard from since she left for school on the morning of March 16. Authorities believe LaMar, who lived in Morgan Hill, was kidnapped while walking to a school bus stop.
Antolin García-Torres was arrested Monday evening at a Safeway store in Morgan Hill, Santa Clara where he worked, County Sheriff Laurie Smith said at a news conference.
"We believe we have probable cause that he committed the kidnapping and murder of Sierra LaMar," she said.
Smith told reporters that investigators have gathered "a lot of physical evidence" that ties García-Torres to the case, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
García-Torres was arrested on suspicion of murder and kidnapping. Additional information was not immediately available, but a Tuesday morning news conference was scheduled.
Volunteers and sheriff's officials have continuously searched the fields, open spaces and reservoirs near Morgan Hill since her disappearance. The Klaas Kids Foundation, founded by Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped from her Petaluma home and murdered in 1993, has been organizing volunteer searches on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Investigators found Sierra's handbag with clothing and a cellphone along the side of the road near her home on March 17, the day after Sierra's mother reported her missing.
Earlier this month, investigators located a red Volkswagen Jetta they said may have been connected to Sierra's abduction given that surveillance cameras and witnesses put the car near the area where authorities believe she disappeared. Police say Garcia-Torres is the owner of the car, which was seized on May 8.
Sheriff's officials have released few details about leads in the case, including what, if any, evidence they found in the car.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.