The 21-year-old defendant who has been charged with kidnapping and killing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra Lamar did not enter a plea at a brief court hearing on Wednesday, and was ordered back to court on Feb. 6.
Antolin Garcia Torres did not say much at the San Jose Hall of Justice, but the biggest surprise was how much his looks have changed since his May 22 arrest in connection with Sierra's disappearance more than nine months ago. Thick, black hair to the nape of his neck and a thin mustache were new facial additions. When he was arrested, he was bald and had a soul patch.
On Wednesday, Torres was formally charged with three 2009 counts of attempted kidnapping and carjackings, all of which took place in Morgan Hill in March of that year. In all those cases, the female victims were able to escape.
Those cases are now merged with the case of the 15-year-old Sierra, who was last seen on March 16 of this year and whose body has never been found. Her case and story have been broadcast nationally and the case is among the most high-profile in the Bay Area.
On Nov. 19, NBC Bay Area revealed new information revealed in Morgan Hill police reports from the 2009 cases.
Most revealing: An expert conclusion that a fingerprint found on the battery pack of a stun gun used in a March 2009 Safeway attempted kidnapping of a woman in Morgan Hill matched the left thumb print of Antolin Garcia Torres. That Safeway was on Tennant Station in Morgan Hill, and the report states that the 46-year-old San Martin woman felt like she was Tased five times.
The new charges didn't exactly spell out how Torres was linked to the 2009 cases. And much of the court file against Torres has previously been sealed. The newly obtained police reports shed more light into what evidence investigators have on Torres.
Among the other police report findings:
- Torres worked at a Safeway, and the police reports indicate that he used his grocery store club card three days before Sierra disappeared to buy 1.5 gallons of bleach and a turkey baster. How those items are relevant to her disappearance were not spelled out.
- Torres did not work on the two days of the attempted March 19 and 26 carjackings in 2009.
- Torres was transferred from the Tennant Station Way and 840 E. Dunne Avenue on July 5 2009. He was a courtesy clerk and checker and was ultimately fired on Oct. 20, 2010.
NBC Bay Area's Arturo Santiago contributed to this report.