Volunteers searching for missing teen Sierra LaMar may have stumbled on a new and disturbing clue in the case.
Investigators have confirmed that today volunteers with the KlaasKids Foundation found an empty handcuff box at the end of Palm Avenue.
The box did not have handcuffs inside, but they did find at least two used condoms a few feet away.
The items were found about a mile from the LaMar home, in an area that is known to deputies as a place where young people often congregate, Santa Clara Sheriff spokesman Jose Cardoza told Bay City News.
"It does bother us. It's very close to home," Gary Bettcher, who lives right down the road where the items were found.
"At times you see cars parked down there at night, especially now that open space has it, they frequent the road quite a bit," Bettcher added.
Officials collected the evidence and are sending it off to a crime lab for DNA analysis.
The items were found about a mile down the intersection of Dougherty Avenue and Palm, which is where Sierra was supposed to be headed to catch her school bus. The bus stop is very close to the LaMar home on Paquita Espana Court. Sierra left home for school the morning of March 16 but never showed up to class.
The Klaaskids Foundation is coordinating this search with guidance from the sheriff's office.
Hundreds of volunteers have been scouring the area surrounding LaMar's home this week after sheriff's officials re-classified the case as an abduction and announced that authorities had all but ruled out the possibility that the Ann Sobrato High School sophomore had run away.
Investigators later found her phone and her Juicy-brand bag containing neatly folded clothing, which included a change of underwear, belonging to the teen. All of the items
The phone and purse were found about two miles for Sierra's house on the first weekend after she disappeared and two blocks apart.
Marc Klaas said after reviewing the evidence, he believes Sierra was likely abducted on the street where she lives.
"Whatever happened to Sierra happened on that block," he told Bay City News.
The family has set up a Facebook page.
Anyone with information about Sierra or her whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff's office at (408) 808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.
Tips can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to help in the actual search, you can go to Burnett Elementary school in Morgan Hill any day between now and Sunday. The search center opens at 8 a.m. Volunteers are given instructions and then go out in a group. They finish their effort by early afternoon each day.