On Tuesday, after police found a red vehicle they think is connected to disappearance of Sierra LaMar, some news organizations and web sites seemed to make a connection between that discovery and police statements that they think the missing teen is still alive.
Yesterday, I asked Santa Clara Sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza if there was any new evidence connected to that car that bolstered this belief. Here's what he said:
The belief that she's alive is something we have maintained from the beginning. It's something that was taken out of context to a certain extent. When we had made the information public, some of the media reports made it look like we found the vehicle, we believe it's associated, and we believe Sierra is still alive.
So they did kind of put those two pieces of information together, making it sound almost that because we located the vehicle, we believe she's alive.
However, we've maintained the mindset since the beginning of this case that there is a possibility that she's still alive. It's not because of locating this vehicle that we believe that.
Quite frankly that's because the truth is, to date at least, we don't have any information otherwise that points that she's no longer alive. So there still is a possibility, whether big or small, that she still could be out there alive.
Bay City News has the latest from the Sheriff's Dept, about a lack of connection between recent kidnapping attempts and the LaMar disappearance.
Investigators do not believe recent kidnapping attempts in Walnut Creek and San Jose are related to the Sierra LaMar case, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
In a statement today, sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza said no link has been found between the 15-year-old Morgan Hill girl's March 16 disappearance and the mid-March attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl in Walnut Creek.
On Tuesday, while announcing that investigators had recovered a red Volkswagen Jetta they believe to be linked to Sierra's disappearance, Cardoza said the sheriff's office has also ruled out a possible connection to a March 23 kidnap attempt in San Jose.
In the San Jose case, a man driving what police described as a red, compact passenger car tried to kidnap a 16-year-old girl using some type of electric device, possibly a stun gun, police said.
In the Walnut Creek case, a man driving a faded red older-model compact sedan tried twice in two days to lure a 13-year-old girl into his car.
The first time, on the afternoon of March 14, the man approached the Walnut Creek Intermediate School student after she got off of a school bus. He spoke with her and offered her a ride, but she declined.
The next day, the same girl saw the man waiting near the back gate of her school as she was leaving for the day. Police tried to locate the man but he was not found.
The search for Sierra LaMar is continuing, and Cardoza said today that the sheriff's dive team is continuing to search small ponds and waterways on private properties near Monterey Highway and Bailey Avenue in unincorporated San Jose.
The Jetta seized by authorities is undergoing a forensic examination, and investigators have not named a suspect or person of interest in the case.
Anyone with information is asked to contact sheriff's investigators at (408) 808-4500 or call the anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.