It's the worst possible news -- a 21-year-old man has been arrested in the kidnapping and murder of missing teenager Sierra Lamar. Antolin Garcia-Torres is facing charges after his arrest earlier today in Santa Clara County. NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama talked to Sheriff Laurie Smith.
There has been a major break in the disappearance of Sierra Lamar.
Antolin Garcia-Torres, a 21-year-old from Morgan Hill, was arrested Monday night in connection with the murder and kidnap of LaMar, a Morgan Hill teen missing for more than two months, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
“We have arrested a suspect in the kidnapping of Sierra Lamar,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith. “The red car is the car that belongs to Antolin Garcia.”
Sources tell the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit that the suspect has been under surveillance for several days.
Garcia-Torres was booked into jail Monday evening, after being taken into custody at a Safeway in Morgan Hill.
Not only was it the first public declaration of an arrest or a suspect in the case, but it was the first time detectives have said what the community has feared since the 15-year-old vanished on her way to school on March 16: The murder charge insinuates that the teen is dead.
Investigators say they have not found her body.
“We have a lot of physical evidence that connects the two," said Sheriff Smith. “He is the registered owner, we have had the car and we were looking for anyone who had seen where that car was – we still want more information if there’s more witnesses.”
The sheriff acknowledged this has been a very difficult time for the Lamar family and asked that the family be left alone Monday night.
“He was arrested today because this is how we thought the arrest should be done and public safety is our main concern," said Sheriff Smith. "We don’t want anyone else hurt – we don’t want any more little girls taken."
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department is holding a news conference Tuesday morning when investigators are expected to release more information.
The Lamar family is expected to attend the news conference.
Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at Twitter.com/ljfernandez.