Family Suspends Nearly 3-Year Search For Missing Morgan Hill Teen Sierra LaMar

The nearly three-year search for Sierra LaMar will soon be suspended, her family announced Monday.

The Sierra LaMar Search Center has been conducting weekly searches since the Morgan Hill teen went missing on March 16, 2012. Her family said the last search will be held on Saturday, March 14.

"It basically boiled down to just not having viable search areas at this point," said Steve Lamar, Sierra's father.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said its investigation is still active and acknowledged the support it got from the search center.

"We got a lot of help from them, we got a lot of tips," Sgt. James Jensen said. "They did a lot of hard work. They were out there for days on end, running and walking around in the mud. They were out in the sun. Extremely disappointing they are closing."

Suspect Antolin Garcia Torres has been charged with murder in LaMar's disappearance even though no body has been found. His lawyer last week told a judge he needed at least another six weeks to prepare for the murder trial. The district attorney is seeking the death penalty in the case.

Torres is scheduled to return to court April 8 for another trial-setting date.

NBC Bay Area Legal Analyst Steven Clark said the end of the searches could impact the case, including speeding up proceedings.

"This is a very big watershed moment in the case. What this signals is the investigation is closing. And now it's time to try the case," Clark said. "As long as those searches were continuing, this was a 'fluid' investigation, which also encouraged some of these delays."

The LaMar family said there will still be an on-call search group ready in case any new tips or leads come in.

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