In a new twist in the heated battle for sheriff of Santa Clara County, missing-child advocate Marc Klaas has come out against sitting Sheriff Laurie Smith, saying she's "stonewalled" the search for the body of Sierra LaMar.
Klaas is the father of Polly Klaas, the 12-year-old Petaluma girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 1993 by Richard Allen Davis, now on California’s Death Row. Klaas has since been active in helping dozens of families across the country search for missing loved ones.
On Friday, Klaas announced he is endorsing Smith’s opponent retired Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Jensen. The two are the only ones running in the June 3 election.
Below is Marc Klaas's statement, obtained exclusively by NBC Bay Area. Smith declined to respond to requests for comment, but her campaign political consultant did send a statement via text message. That response, which calls Klaas's statement "misinformed," is also pasted below.
My name is Marc Klaas and I am the father of Polly Klaas.
I wish to add my name to the growing list of law enforcement fraternal organizations, business leaders who are supporting Kevin Jensen’s candidacy for Sheriff of Santa Clara County. Although I am not a resident of Santa Clara County I have had opportunities to interact with Sheriff Laurie Smith and firmly believe that the citizens of Santa Clara County deserve a new direction and new leadership in the public safety arena.
During the days and months following the disappearance of Sierra LaMar I worked with her family and a large volunteer force to organize and establish the Sierra Search Center. Many thousands of individuals have volunteered time and tens of thousands of hours have been donated to assist with the search for Sierra LaMar. The Sierra Search Center, now run by Sierra’s family and a core group of volunteers, has now entered its third year.
Throughout the process of searching for Sierra we reached out to the Sheriff Smith on many occasions requesting passive information that would not impact the case, but might assist our efforts to better focus on viable search areas. Unfortunately, despite the fact that her office no longer dispatches SAR teams to look for Sierra LaMar, Sheriff Laurie Smith has ignored all of our requests.
I have been involved in organizing civilian search efforts since my daughter Polly was kidnapped in 1993. None of the numerous searches that we have engaged have ever been stonewalled by the jurisdictional law enforcement like the search for Sierra LaMar.
Sierra LaMar remains missing and Santa Clara County needs a new Sheriff. Join me in supporting the candidacy of Kevin Jensen for Santa Clara County Sheriff.
Response from Sheriff Smith's campaign political consultant:
"It is sad that Mr. Klass is so thoroughly misinformed on this subject. No individual has done more to protect the public from the suspect or followed up more leads in the search for Sierra LaMarr. It is unfortunate that Mr. Klass is being used for political purposes in this way. This continues to be an ongoing investigation and the Sheriff will do nothing to prejudice the case against the suspect. She cannot comment and her uninformed opponents know it. That said, as a Mother, she will not rest until Sierra is found and the perpetrator brought to justice."