The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office confirmed that they found the purse and some clothing of missing Morgan Hill teenager Sierra LaMar.
The items were found Sunday at 1 p.m. near the intersection of Laguna and Santa Teresa in Morgan Hill. That is about two miles from the girl's home. They were off to the side of the road as if tossed from a vehicle. Her cell phone was found a day earlier, on Saturday, at the nearby intersection of Scheller and Santa Teresa. It was also off the roadway as if tossed.
Forensic tests and the family confirmed that these items belong to the 15-year-old girl who has not been seen since leaving for class at Sobrato High School early Friday morning.
Sierra lived in Fremont and attended Washington High School until this year when she and her mother moved to Morgan Hill. Students and teachers at both schools have helped in the search and have posted hundreds of missing person signs around the Bay Area.
Because of this new information, Santa Clara County investigators are back in Morgan Hill Thursday to perform new, more extensive search of the area. The search radius is three miles and includes 50 searchers plus search dogs.
The FBI has also been called in to assist in the investigation, but investigators would not say in what capacity. They did say that the FBI is not taking part in Thursday's new search.
The map to the right shows the key locations.
Despite the discovery, the sheriff's office says it still isn't sure whether Sierra ran away on her own or was abducted. "There is no evidence of foul play," Sheriff's spokesman Jose Cardoza said.
Cardoza said a pair of pants, a shirt, a bra and a pair of underwear were neatly folded inside a Juicy brand purse. It was not clear if they were the clothes Sierra put on the morning she was last seen or if they were something she brought along with her. He said they contained no forensic evidence that pointed to a crime or a person of interest in the case. They said they did not release the information earlier because they were waiting on forensic evidence analysis.
Cardoza would not confirm reports that the purse or clothing had urine on it. "The specific details on the condition of the clothing - whether they were wet or had urine on them - we are holding that specific detail as confidential," Cardoza said.
Thursday's search is different from the searches that were held over the weekend in purpose. The weekend searches were focused on finding a missing or injured person. Now, the search team is looking for clues that might point to a crime. They will be looking for clothing, tire tracks, a weapon or blood evidence.