While Antolin Garcia-Torres knew he was being interviewed and followed in connection with the disappearance of Sierra LaMar, the Morgan Hill resident seemed nonchalant about the investigation and was talking to his older sister, Lucero, about going back to work.
“He didn’t seem concerned, he just continued with his everyday activities,” Lucero Garcia, 26, said.
“He thought it was all a confusion, that’s how he would kind of bring it out. What he was saying was, 'I hope when all this is over I can go back to getting my job' and this and that.”
Authorities put Antolin under 24-hour surveillance on March 28, the day investigators learned that , discovered in a field two days after her disappearance on March 16.
It’s unknown how long Antolin knew detectives were following him, or what tipped him off, but the murder suspect apparently knew law enforcement wasn’t far off.
“He knew [he was being followed] and he was just saying, “Just do what you do every day. Just be normal,’” Alondra Garcia, the suspect’s 20-year-old sister, said. “I was telling him that I was paranoid because I felt like I was being followed because he was being followed.”
Sheriff Sgt. Jose Cardoza said he didn’t know if Antolin knew he was being trailed, but that it shouldn’t have jeopardized the case in any way.
“I don’t know directly if he knew. He may or may not have known, but that didn’t hinder or stop the investigation or anything the detectives did,” Cardoza said. “It happens, it’s not common [for suspects to find out they’re being followed] but it does happen.”
Detectives also searched the mobile home that Antolin lives in with his mother, Laura, his wife Francine and 19-month-old daughter Emily. They confiscated Antolin’s toothbrush, boots and blankets, according to Lucero, who said a long braid of her mother’s hair was confiscated as well.
Cardoza confirmed that authorities searched the RV after obtaining a search warrant, although he couldn’t specify the date the search took place, nor could he comment on the confiscated items, aside from the hair.
“In general, when a hair sample is taken from somebody, it would be processed for forensic evidence,” he said. “In criminal investigations, when hair samples are taken it’s to conduct forensic testing."
Lucero also said that sheriff’s personnel interviewed their family at the RV, her apartment and at the sheriff’s station a couple of week’s before Antolin was arrested. During the interviews, Antolin was asked about his childhood, where he grew up, what he liked to do and how he was at school, she said.
Despite the interviews, Antolin continued to act unconcerned. The last time Lucero saw her brother, “He was just saying, ‘oh, I heard that they went over to your place too,’ and I was like ‘yeah, they were asking me a bunch of questions,’ and he was like ‘oh, that’s stupid.’”
It apparently isn't too uncommon to read about murder suspects acting unconcerned. A San Antonio mother was described by police as acting “nonchalant” after stabbing her two infant children to death in 2010. In another case, a New Jersey man charged with murdering his wife in January was described by a family member as acting nonchalant when questioned about the victim’s whereabouts.
In comparison to another high profile case, Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her daughter Caylee, acted so nonchalant about her daughter’s disappearance that she reportedly spent some of her child-free days hitting up clubs. However, the Florida jury presiding over the case found Anthony not guilty.
Antolin is being charged with the . The formal reading of the charges has been .
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page on Gilroy Patch.