Steve Lamar says the new charges against the man accused of killing his daughter are a positive sign. He tells Marianne Favro he hopes it leads to a conviction and a tip that will lead police to his daughters body.
Court documents made public Wednesday reveal some more details in the case against the 21-year-old Morgan Hill man charged with kidnapping and killing teenager, Sierra Lamar, more than seven months ago.
The amended complaint, filed late Tuesday at Santa Clara County Superior Court, shows that prosecutors added three more counts to the case against Antolin Garcia Torres, already facing murder and kidnap charges in the case of Sierra, a 15-year-old girl who was last seen walking to her bus stop in Morgan Hill on March 16 and has never been seen again. The new counts allege attempted kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking - all from 2009.
Sierra's dad, Steve Lamar, told NBC Bay Area is he hopeful the fact that the case is back in the news will inspire someone to call the tip line with information about his daughter's whereabouts.
"We see this as a positive development in building a case against Torres. Perhaps it will get more answers and we will be able to find Sierra," Lamar added. He pointed out that it's positive that prosecutors are "building a case" and "trying to show a pattern."
NBC Bay Area was first to report Tuesday about the amended charges.
The new counts - attempted kidnapping during a carjacking - also reveal an alleged pattern of Torres' past behavior. He has not yet entered a plea in the case of Sierra, and is being represented by the alternative defender, who did not respond to NBC Bay Area's requests for comment. Torres' DNA was found on her clothing, discovered two miles from the bus stop at the end of March, authorities said. He was arrested in May.
In what may appear to be an odd coincidence, all of the new counts occurred in March 2009. Torres was born on March 30, 1991. Sierra was taken this March.
The new charges also confirm what Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies had suspected for a while. Apparently, a new piece, or pieces, of evidence ties Torres to these three 2009 cases, according to David Boyd, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney. Boyd declined to elaborate.
Shortly after he was arrested in May, Sheriff Laurie Smith said that Torres may be connected to three other 2009 assaults in a Morgan Hill Safeway parking lot.
The amended complaint spells out in a bit more detail those 2009 attacks, all presumably at Safeway stores in Morgan Hill. According to the court documents, Torres tried to kidnap and then carjacked a woman on March 19 and used a stun gun on her; and he carjacked another woman on that same day. Then, he is charged with carjacking a third woman on March 26. The court files do not state where these women were attacked, but previously, the sheriff's department had stated the attacks on the women occurred at Safeway grocery stores at 840 E. Dunne Ave. and Tennant Station, both in Morgan Hill. Torres used to work at a Safeway.
Those incidents scared some shoppers away from the grocery store at the time. Veronica Saenz of Morgan Hill told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday that after she heard about those 2009 attempted kidnappings, she started shopping at Wal-mart and Nob Hill instead. "I didn't want to be in the area of Safeway...it was scary," she said.
Torres was 17 at the time of these alleged crimes, but a judge ruled that he could be charged as an adult. His next court date is Dec. 10.
Anyone with information regarding these crimes should contact Detective Corporal Jason Kadluboski at 408-846-0350. Those who want to remain anonymous may call WeTip at 1-800-782-7463 (1-800-78-Crime).