The is now in custody, but investigators need additional tips from the public before they can pursue the vehicle’s owner or anyone else who may have been driving the car.
“As for the owner or driver, were not there yet,” Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Cardoza said. “One thing you don’t want to do on a high profile criminal case is you don’t want to single out anyone for being associated unless you have a little more [info].”
The association between the red, mid-1990s Jetta Volkswagen and the LaMar case is based on March 16 surveillance footage from residential cameras near the LaMar home, from nearby businesses and from the bus stop Sierra would catch to Sobrato High. Time and again, the red Volkswagen was captured near the LaMar home and other areas of interest, like the .
“The vehicle was seen more than once as being in the area where Sierra’s mom’s house is and other areas where evidence was found,” Cardoza said.
The Jetta was identified toward the beginning of the LaMar case, but wasn’t flagged as anything of interest until video-surveillance sources confirmed that they, too, had seen the same Jetta near key areas.
“Within the last week or two it peaked detectives’ interest again—that this is more than just a coincidence,” Cardoza said. “It was pretty obvious that it was the same vehicle [investigators] were looking at more than once,” he said.
Although the LaMar family told investigators that they don't recognize the car, they're hopeful that the Jetta's distinct black hood will provide another source for authorities to interview, an ABC News article states.
"Anyone that might be seeing this, if they own a body shop and remember doing something like that on a similar car, again, that's useful information," Steve LaMar told ABC News.
Cardoza couldn’t confirm whether the vehicle was seen in the same key areas before or after the 16th, nor could he disclose the number of times the vehicle was spotted. He also said investigators aren’t commenting on whether the owner of the Jetta has been traced, if the vehicle has a California license plate or other descriptors.
“Was there one driver? Were there other persons inside the vehicle? Was Sierra inside the car or not inside the car? They’re just not commenting on that right now,” he said. “Right now the focus is on reaching out to the public.”
The Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to call the tip line with any information associated to the vehicle.
Investigators are specifically interested in hearing from individuals who saw the vehicle or had contact with its occupant(s) in Santa Clara County or bordering counties in March. Investigators are also asking individuals to contact them if they specifically remember seeing the Jetta on March 16.
Soon after authorities announced the link between the vehicle and the LaMar case on Monday, posters suggesting a connection between Sierra’s disappearance and an attempted kidnapping in Walnut Creek on March 14 began to spread via social media.
With the March 14 incident, a man tried to lure a 13-year-old girl into his vehicle, which is described as a “red older model compact sedan.” However, a connection hasn’t been announced.
Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, is a graduate of Milpitas High School.
Tipsters can call 408-808-4500, the anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431 or shoot an email to email@example.com
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page.