SAN JOSE — The mother of missing teen Sierra LaMar made a valiant effort Tuesday to testify calmly, pursing her lips and avoiding the gaze of the man accused of kidnapping and killing her daughter.
But Marlene LaMar lost her composure several times, including when prosecutor David Boyd asked her about her frantic effort to find Sierra the day she disappeared nearly five years ago.
A juror dabbed her eyes as Marlene LaMar recounted calling the 15-year-old’s cell phone at least 14 times while driving home from work March 16, 2012.
When she got home to the house she rented north of Morgan Hill and Sierra wasn’t there, she consulted the school district’s website to see if Sierra had been absent to class. Nothing was posted, so she immediately drove over to Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and began looking around. Then, she tried calling the mother of one of Sierra’s friends. Finally, she phoned Sierra’s father, who left Fremont right away to join the search.
“I was in a state of panic,” Marlene LaMar wailed, telling jurors in Santa Clara County Superior Court that her daughter would never have voluntarily missed a hair appointment she had that day. “I had a feeling something was wrong. It didn’t make any sense. I knew something bad happened to her.”
When prosecutor David Boyd asked if she has seen Sierra since that day, Marlene LaMar said “no” in an anguished voice as another female juror teared up.
The testimony came on the sixth day of Antolin Garcia-Torres’ capital trial. He is charged with kidnapping and killing Sierra, whose body has never been found. Now 25, Garcia-Torres is also charged with attempting to kidnap three other women in 2009.
Garcia-Torres has pleaded not guilty. If he is convicted, he could be sentenced either to death or life in prison without parole. However, if he is acquitted, he cannot be tried again, even if Sierra’s body is found or other evidence surfaces.