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Sierra LaMar Update: Police Find Red Car Seen In Surveillance Footage

By TERRY COLLINS 05/08/12 09:07 PM ET AP

Sierra Lamar
Posters bearing images of Sierra LaMar at Burnett Elementary School in Morgan Hill, Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Investigators have located a vehicle that may be connected to the abduction of a Northern California teenager who's been missing for nearly two months, authorities said Tuesday.

Santa Clara County sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza wouldn't say where or when the red Volkswagen Jetta was recovered. Surveillance cameras and witnesses put the car near the area where authorities believe 15-year-old Sierra LaMar was kidnapped in Suburban San Jose on March 16.

"It's still an open investigation," Cardoza told The Associated Press on Tuesday following a briefing in San Jose. "Our investigators do not want to compromise the case. We do not want to jeopardize anything."

Authorities believe Sierra was kidnapped near her home in Morgan Hill while she was walking to a bus stop on her way to school. The car's discovery comes a day after the sheriff's office released a photo of a red Jetta that's similar to the car linked to the disappearance.

Investigators are now looking for anyone who saw the car – which also has a black hood – in the area and who may have been riding in it at the time of Sierra's abduction, Cardoza said.

"We really need the public to come forward and help provide us with any information they may have about this vehicle," Cardoza said. "We want to know if they saw it in Morgan Hill, outside of Morgan Hill during the time she went missing so our investigators can piece everything together."

Cardoza said investigators asked Sierra's family asked about the car, but they have no knowledge of it.

Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, told KGO-TV on Monday that the car is just the kind of solid lead her family has been hoping for.

"I know everybody out there is going to do everything possible to report the sighting of this car," LaMar said.

The mother said she is convinced her daughter is still alive, and she had a direct message for anyone involved with her disappearance.

"I am not looking for trouble or a conviction. I just want – we all want her safe return. We all want this nightmare to end, and that's my plea out there," she said.

Despite Sierra being missing for nearly two months, there are no indications that she is dead, Cardoza said.

Dive teams were searching private ponds in rural Morgan Hill on Tuesday and were expected to search in unincorporated reservoirs in south San Jose, Cardoza said.

___

Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma in San Jose contributed to this report.

View the Help Find Sierra Facebook page.
Loading Slideshow...
  • Sierra LaMar

    Sierra LaMar, 15, vanished after leaving her Morgan Hills, Calif. home on March 16 and headed for school.

  • Sierra LaMar

    Police found LaMar's cellphone on Saturday, March 17 -- the day after she was last seen. Cops said they're searching her phone records for clues.

  • Sierra LaMar

    LaMar was a cheerleader in high school before moving to a new town, Morgan Hill, with her mother in October. Her parents are divorced and police said that both were cooperating with the investigation.

  • Sierra LaMar

    Police are treating LaMar's disappearance as a missing person case. Her parents insist it's unlikely that she ran away.

  • Sierra LaMar

    LaMar is 5-feet-2-inches tall with a thin frame. She was carrying a pink and black Juicy purse when she left home.

  • Sierra LaMar

    Anyone with information about LaMar may contact the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office at (408) 299-2311

  • Sierra LaMar

  • Peter Robinson

    Deputy Peter Robinson, of the Santa Clara County Sheriff Underwater Search Unit, surveys a pond on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Morgan Hill, Calif. The search for missing 15-year-old Northern California girl expanded on Tuesday as investigators followed new leads one month since her disappearance. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office would not say what the new leads were in the case of Sierra LaMar, except that they came from evidence already collected. The teen was seen leaving her Morgan Hill home on March 16. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Sierra LaMar

    A sign with a photo of missing teen Sierra LaMar is posted at an intersection on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Morgan Hill, Calif. The search for missing 15-year-old Northern California girl expanded on Tuesday as investigators followed new leads one month since her disappearance. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office would not say what the new leads were in the case of Sierra LaMar, except that they came from evidence already collected. The teen was seen leaving her Morgan Hill home on March 16. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Santa Clara County Sheriffs underwater search unit

    The Santa Clara County Sheriffs underwater search unit prepares to lower a zodiac into Calero Reservoir to look for clues in the disappearance of missing teenage girl Sierra LaMar Tuesday, March 27, 2012, in Morgan Hill, Calif. LaMar disappeared as she headed out for school on March 16, and her cellphone and bag were found tossed in two separate locations shortly after. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Sierra LaMar

    HOLD FOR STORY: In this photo from Monday, March 26, 2012, posters bearing images of missing teen Sierra LaMar are seen at Burnett Elementary School in Morgan Hill, Calif. LaMar disappeared as she headed out for school on March 16, and her cellphone and bag were found tossed in two separate locations shortly after. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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Filed by Hilary Tuttle  |