A day after posting a likeness to a red car possibly linked to the disappearance of Sierra LaMar, the Santa Clara County Sheriff on Tuesday said detectives actually have the Jetta in their custody.
Just how the Volkswagen Jetta with the black hood is linked to the March 16 disappearance of the Morgan Hill girl is unclear.
"We're not saying when and where we found it," Sgt. Jose Cardoza said. He added that the discovery was "pretty significant," and that there was no reason not to believe that the teen was still alive despite the fact that she's been gone for more than eight weeks.
On Monday, the sheriff's office asked for the public's help in an effort to find the distinctive Jetta, which was spotted on video surveillance taken near her home. Detectives had issued a photograph of a similar, but generic Jetta.
On Tuesday, detectives announced they had found the real one with the black hood. Cardoza said that detectives know who the car owner is, but there is "no person of interest" in the case yet.
Still, Cardoza said detectives need more help. "We need information about this car," he said, "and we'd like to know who was driving it before, during and after Sierra went missing."
Sierra was last known to have been in the area of Palm and Dougherty avenues near her bus stop before she disappeared.
Cardoza told reporters at a Tuesday news conference that detectives have determined that the attempted kidnapping of a 16-year-old girl who may have been shocked by a stun gun in San Jose on March 23 was not related to this case.
But he didn't rule out whether two attempted abductions in Walnut Creek in mid-March could be connected. In that case, a man driving a faded red compact sedan tried twice in two days to lure a 13-year-old girl into his car.
Sierra's case has generated about 1,600 tips, an outpouring of community support and many headlines. The show, America's Most Wanted, is expected to air her story on Friday.
Divers were out Tuesday searching private ponds and lagoons for the teen, and are expected to be out again on Wednesday.
Anyone with information on this case is being asked to contact Sheriff's Investigators at
(408) 808-4500 or the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.
People can also email firstname.lastname@example.org