MORGAN HILL (AP) — Investigators have located a vehicle that may be connected to the abduction of a Northern California teenager who's been missing for nearly two months, authorities said Tuesday.
Santa Clara County sheriff's Sgt. Jose Cardoza wouldn't say where or when the red Volkswagen Jetta was recovered. Surveillance cameras and witnesses put the car near the area where authorities believe 15-year-old Sierra LaMar was kidnapped in Suburban San Jose on March 16.
"It's still an open investigation," Cardoza told The Associated Press on Tuesday following a briefing in San Jose. "Our investigators do not want to compromise the case. We do not want to jeopardize anything."
Authorities believe Sierra was kidnapped near her home in Morgan Hill while she was walking to a bus stop on her way to school. The car's discovery comes a day after the sheriff's office released a photo of a red Jetta that's similar to the car linked to the disappearance.
Investigators are now looking for anyone who saw the car — which also has a black hood — in the area and who may have been riding in it at the time of Sierra's abduction, Cardoza said.
"We really need the public to come forward and help provide us with any information they may have about this vehicle," Cardoza said. "We want to know if they saw it in Morgan Hill, outside of Morgan Hill during the time she went missing so our investigators can piece everything together."
Cardoza said investigators asked Sierra's family asked about the car, but they have no knowledge of it.
Sierra's mother, Marlene LaMar, told KGO-TV on Monday that the car is just the kind of solid lead her family has been hoping for.
"I know everybody out there is going to do everything possible to report the sighting of this car," LaMar said.
The mother said she is convinced her daughter is still alive, and she had a direct message for anyone involved with her disappearance.
"I am not looking for trouble or a conviction. I just want — we all want her safe return. We all want this nightmare to end, and that's my plea out there," she said.
Despite Sierra being missing for nearly two months, there are no indications that she is dead, Cardoza said.
Dive teams were searching private ponds in rural Morgan Hill on Tuesday and were expected to search in unincorporated reservoirs in south San Jose, Cardoza said.