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Sierra LaMar Murder Suspect Linked to One Assault Case in Morgan Hill

Morgan Hill police say Antolin Garcia-Torres could be connected to two other assault cases that occurred in 2009.

Three women—two White and one Hispanic—were assaulted during a seven-day period in parking lots of Morgan Hill's two Safeways in March 2009.

Now, Morgan Hill police detectives are saying Sierra LaMar murder suspect Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21, arrested Tuesday in connection with her disappearance, is "100 percent positively connected" to at least one of the incidents.

Authorities also have strong reasons to believe he could be responsible for the other two crimes, said Morgan Hill Police Sgt. spokesman Troy Hoefling.

A suspect sketch drawn at the time by a police artist to help capture the assailant never yielded any leads and nothing ever came of the investigations, Hoefling continued.

However, during the Sierra LaMar case, Hoefling said detectives ran a list of MHPD unsolved assaults and came up with the three Safeway cases.

The evidence gathered by the department from the incidents, including one specific case, was submitted and "he was positively identified to evidence that we have," Hoefling said.

Hoefling wouldn't comment on the evidence nor would he identify the exact incident to which Garcia-Torres is definitively connected.

Police say the first incident happened on March 19, 2009, when a man approached a woman getting into her car at the Safeway located on Dunne Avenue, but she was able to sit down and lock the doors before he could get inside.

Another incident happened that same evening at the Safeway located on Tennant Avenue, where Garcia-Torres was employed. In the second incident, a woman exited the Safeway and got into her car and a man entered her vehicle through the rear door of her vehicle, sitting in the back seat behind the driver's side and assaulted her with a Taser gun.

She escaped the assailant by screaming for help and getting someone's attention scaring the suspect away, Hoefling said.

In the third incident, seven days later on March 26, 2009, a woman outside of Safeway on Dunne Avenue parked her car and before she exited the vehicle, a man assaulted her with her own pocket knife.

Hoefling said detectives are following up to find out if Garcia-Torres is linked to the other two cases.

"If there's something to be further investigated with a subject in mind, we are doing whatever it takes to make comparison with the evidence we have and further follow-up. These cases are still open and are still pending," Hoefling said.

Morgan Hill police have had several contacts with Garcia-Torres over the past few years, Hoefling said, adding that he was cited numerous times for vehicle code violations.

On June 18, 2009 Garcia-Torres was cited for driving a black Chevrolet Impala without proof of insurance or a valid California driver’s license, although he did have a valid California identification card, a report obtained from the Morgan Hill Police Department states.

Despite comments questioning whether Garcia-Torres has been residing in Morgan Hill illegally, his 26-year-old sister Lucero Garcia confirmed that he’s a California resident, and said he was born in San Martin.

He's being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose and will be arraigned on felony kidnapping and murder charges at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the San Jose Hall of Justice.

The girl vanished on her way to catch the 7:20 a.m. school bus to Sobrato High School, where she was a sophomore.

Court records obtained by Patch Tuesday reveal Garcia-Torres had his run-ins with public safety authorities in Morgan Hill and the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.

G. Layton May 24, 2012 at 04:11 PM
The person who does reads for us in N. California, has been very accurate We showed her the artist's sketches and she told us, "He's one in the same" and been doing this for quite some time.
Kell May 24, 2012 at 04:48 PM
First I'd like to say how my heart breaks for the Lamar family and I hope and pray that they find Sierra soon so that they can at least know what happened to her and bury her body if she is in fact no longer with us. Second, I recall reading in an earlier article that this man was arrested for 1 of the safeway attacks, however he was never prosecuted. This disgusts me. Sounds like the police did their job and arrested him, and I'd really like to know why he was never prosecuted. I think that the DA should explain to Sierra's family and the local community why he wasn't and why he was left to roam the streets and prey on others. Clearly attacking women in the Safeway parkling lot wasn't enough for him and he escalated to kidnap and murder a vibrant 15 year old girl. Disgusting to think that he could have been stopped earlier. Sadly, I feel like this happens all of the time with these criminals and they almost always escalate. Also, I am wondering about the attempted kidnapping of that teen in Willow Glen in March and it seems that occured prior to them tracking this guy. That guy used a taser type thing as well and it sounds all too much like this guy's MO. I hope they go back and look at that case as well. I am glad this guy is finally in jail and will hopedully be fully prosecuted for ALL of his crimes, it's just sad that it apepars to have happened too late.
triple@family May 25, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I hope they fing good evidence to all the other things that happened in this county and prosecute him from all of these crimes like i feel that if he is realated to these other crimes they should just put in in jail with all the other and let them take car of him? monster! i sure they would love to take care of a predeator!!! or just give his ass death row!!! and do it ASAP
Christina May 28, 2012 at 05:46 AM
Triple - Im with you 100%

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