College Student Disappears While Biking Home
Aired May 22, 2012 - 19:00 ET
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The 15-year-old high school student vanished from her driveway March 16th while walking to the bus stop. Her mom had no idea she was missing until the school called that evening to report her absence.
Cops have had Garcia Torres under surveillance for almost two months now hoping they would lead them to Sierra. However they decided to arrest and charge him even thought they have not found the victim, Sierra. Sierra`s mother made a desperate plea for Garcia Torres to tell them if he hid her somewhere and end their family nightmare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARLENE LAMAR, MOTHER OF SIERRA LAMAR: I do have a plea to the perpetrator to please, please give the information that you have -- that you have to lead us to Sierra to help end this nightmare. I would like you to come forward and say where she is and end this nightmare for us as a family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you think? Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.
Straight out to criminal profiler, Pat Brown, there is an old saying and I hate to use it, but it does explain the dilemma of law enforcement -- "no body, no case." We pray and hope by some miracle that this beautiful young woman is still alive, but police do not think so. That`s why they`ve arrested him on a murder charge, but they do not have a body. How do they deal with that?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I hear they have DNA, they might have a lot of other evidence. They`ve been watching this guy for a long time, so I don`t think they would have moved in on him unless they thought they had a strong enough case. And perhaps he is working to give them some information as to where she is so he can get -- hopefully a lighter sentence for himself.
But I don`t think he`s going to get much of that, but I certainly hope that helps the family at least know what happened to Sierra. I mean this sort of been -- the way it`s been going for a while now, but at least now they have the true facts of it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cops spent months investigating this case and actually linked Garcia-Torres, they say to Sierra with DNA found in her bag and also her DNA on his property. So they`ve got a match. There`s no reason for that to be because they didn`t know each other.
So let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: It`s my belief this was purely random. It was an absolute stranger abduction. There`s no information that we have of any type that the two know each other and have had any contact. We believe this is the worst kind of a crime, a stranger abduction of a young girl.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Random crime, obviously the most terrifying because you cannot prepare for it or figure out a way to avoid it, so you`ve got to wonder, J. Wyndal Gordon, criminal defense attorney, if this DNA match is going to be enough.
Let`s pray that this family gets closure and that whatever happened to this beautiful young woman the family finds out and they can somehow at least know the truth, but if not, will the DNA and his DNA on her property and her DNA on his property, will that be enough?
J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, we saw a case dealing with a lack of a body and another case that was out in California, it`s the (inaudible) that escapes me right now. When you don`t have a body, you don`t have a case because it`s hard. You don`t know the cause of death. Was it an accident? Was it a homicide? We don`t know what the cause of death is, so the DNA, I don`t think that would be enough unless the prosecutor can piece together -- the prosecutor`s office can piece together enough evidence to show that this was, in fact, a homicide, and I just don`t know how they`re going do it.
I think they acted with quick dispatch to get him off the street. I mean I have every reason to believe that the investigation is still ongoing and that they just wanted to get him off the street because he wasn`t leading them into any information that they would find helpful, but this thing will go on until the --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this. This isn`t the first crime that this guy, this creep has been linked to.
Listen to this from the news conference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: One was where a taser was involved but the victim managed to get away. Another one was where the victim had a knife that was being used against her and the other one was he was not able to get into the victim`s car. She locked it. Those have been recorded by the media and one of those we linked through evidence to our suspect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I want to go out to Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney. You`re also a former prosecutor. I`m wondering given that they do not have the victim in this case, could they pile on all these charges connected to these other cases to encourage him confess and reveal what he did with Sierra? Could they offer to take, for example, the death penalty off the table?
MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Absolute, they can try. But this guy wasn`t an altar boy yesterday and then turned to be a murderer and a kidnapper. He`s been through the system. So he becomes very educated that the fish who kept his mouth shut doesn`t get caught. So he knows that the minute he starts talking the more he`s going to help their case which as Mr. Gordon correctly indicated earlier seems to be lacking proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Without a body -- they do allege that there are substances of hers found in his vehicle -- I don`t know what that would be. I guess the worst-case scenario is blood. But again, is that an accident? Does that show that she was intentionally murdered? I think that there is proof that he most likely did it. He probably did it, but I`m looking to see some more, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go out to the phone lines.
Tammy, Rhode Island; your question or thoughts, Tammy?
TAMMY, RHODE ISLAND (via telephone): Jane, I just thought I`d let you know how much I love the show. And I`m calling you to --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
TAMMY: -- say my heart goes out to both of those girls and their families. I hope the second girl is found, but what I`m calling about is that people have to realize that it`s not 30 years ago or 40 yes years ago, you can`t be out there alone. You can`t go walking by yourself. You can`t go riding a bike at all. You have to be in pairs or with other people.
We have to watch out for each other because there`s a war on women and girls. And it`s just really a sad thing that the world`s turned to this. But my opinion is that you can`t do things alone like you used to.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but -- well, you make some important points, but I have to point out that Sierra Lamar, this 15-year-old was simply walking from her front door to her nearby school bus stop. This wasn`t a girl running around all over town. She was walking from her front door to her school bus stop.
And that`s why I agree with you in the sense that there is something wrong with our culture that people, particularly females -- which I call the psychological burqa -- have to live in fear any time they walk anywhere alone. There`s something wrong and we need to do something about it.
Now, let`s examine who this character is -- Garcia-Torres, a stranger to Sierra, total stranger. Ok. But we`ve done some digging. Here`s what we found out about him -- his full name, Antolin Garcia-Torres, 21. Lives in San Martin, California; just a few miles away from Sierra; he works at a grocery store. And get this -- he`s married with a one and a half-year-old daughter and his wife is three months pregnant. Now, his sister says they have the wrong guy, quote, "It is not him. It feels like we`re in a movie right now, an unfair movie."
But the fact is if he is the man responsible, he essentially impregnated his wife and then went out and did this? How horrifying is that, Pat Brown?
BROWN: Well, there`s a lot of serial killers who have wives and we find them, sometimes they`ve been married 20 or 30 years and they have killed 10 women and they have wives. The problem is the wives don`t recognize that they`re married to a psychopath.
And let me say this, when they go, oh my God, I don`t know why they`re picking on my husband, or my father, or my brother -- it`s like, really? Do you think that he`s popped out of a crowd, the police just pop somebody out of the crowd and say let`s go after that guy. I mean there`s usually a heck of a lot of evidence for them to do that.
I mean worst excuse for Sierra`s DNA to be anywhere near this man or his DNA to be anywhere near her. Don`t tell me that they just met up and had a nice handshake and that`s it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, to that point, officers had been looking for a Red Volkswagen Jetta and he`s the owner of a Red Volkswagen Jetta that had been seen in the area.
Nancy Grace, top of the hour, what are you working on tonight, Nancy?
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Jane, at this hour some family and sex offenders had been ruled out, but not the parents, Jane. Isabel`s own mother defending daddy as police now begging neighbors to be their eyes and ears. And tonight, has daddy lawyered up, Jane?