Public Wonders if Gilroy Sketch is Linked to Sierra LaMar

Police said one of the child victims has potentially identified a suspect, but wouldn't say whether that suspect was Antolin Garcia-Torres.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Gilroy police have re-released a sketch of a man with a goatee who they believe "annoyed" three girls and one boy last summer, which is raising questions if the suspect is the man now charged with kidnapping and murdering 15-year-old Sierra LaMar.

    According to Gilroy police Sgt. Chad Gallacinao, one of the child victims has potentially identified a suspect. But Gallacinao wouldn't say whether that suspect was Antolin Garcia-Torres, the 21-year-old Morgan Hill man charged with killing Sierra.

    "Everyone is drawing the same conclusion," Gallacinao, adding that authorities have not determined either way whether Garcia-Torres is the same man in the sketch.

    The sketch shows a chubby-cheeked man with a goatee and a crew cut. Garcia-Torres has a full face and a similar hair style. But it's unclear whether the two are the same person.

    Gallacinao declined to say more, referring all calls to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which will review the Gilroy case. A spokesman there on Friday declined comment.

    The child annoyances stems from two cases between July 26 and Aug. 3 involving four children between the ages of 9 and 15.

    In August, police said a man invited a boy, 11, and two girls, 9 and 15, away from their home about 3 p.m. in the 900 block of Ortega Circle to a restaurant. The children declined and told their parents, who then called police. In the July case, police said a man tried to lure a 10-year-old girl into his car in front of her home in the 7600 block of Miller Avenue about 5:30 p.m. The girl refused, and ran in and told her parents, who then called police.

    Gilroy police publicized the sketch of the suspect after last summer's incidents, but recent tips sparked the department to release the sketch based on "additional information" again this week.

    In the August case, the suspect was described as a 20- to 25-year-old Latino man standing between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. In the July case, the suspect was described as a Latino man about 30 years old with short, balding hair or a possible crew cut.

    Garcia-Torres is 21 years old, stands 6 feet tall and weighs between 165 to 200 pounds. Detectives said he drove a red Jetta with a black hood. In the July case, the girl described the suspect's car as a "dirty" white 1990s Honda with a black roof. In the August case, the suspect walked away on foot.

    Sierra was last seen March 16 near her Morgan Hill bus stop. She never made it to school that day and hasn't been seen since. Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputies say that Garcia-Torres' DNA was found on her belongings, found a few miles from her bus stop.

    Garcia-Torres has yet to enter a plea.

     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).

    To see a report on Sierra LaMar's friends and family hoping she's still alive, click here.

     

    Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or lisa.fernandez@nbcuni.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/ljfernandez.