The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office confirmed Thursday that they found the purse and some clothing of missing Morgan Hill, Calif. teenager Sierra LaMar. The items were found Sunday about two miles away from the girl’s home.
Thanks in part to the discovery, investigators are conducting a second, more extensive, search of the area. According to NBCBayArea.com, fifty personnel and search dogs will be employed, and the FBI has been called to help with the effort.
According to Sheriff's spokesman Jose Cardoza, a pair of pants, a shirt, a bra and a pair of underwear were found neatly folded inside the purse. He said the items contained no forensic evidence, and it wasn't clear if they were the clothes LaMar was wearing when she was last seen.
A cell phone and computer belonging to the 15-year-old were found Saturday, but did not provide police with any clues into her disappearance nearly a week ago.
Sierra, a sophomore at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., was last seen by her family at 6 a.m. Friday in an unincorporated area near Morgan Hill. She did not show up for school that day, and her last communication was a Twitter post at 6:30 a.m. Her undamaged cell phone was recovered by police on Saturday on the side of the road about a mile from her home, but has not provided any leads on her whereabouts, according to local police.
Steve LaMar, Sierra’s father, is a registered sex offender but is not a person of interest in his daughter’s disappearance, according to police. LaMar was charged with 12 felony counts of committing lewd or lascivious acts with three children under 14, none of whom was his daughter, in March 2009. He pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced in September 2009 to a year in jail, according to a report in The San Francisco Chronicle.
"I understand the stigma associated with this in my background, and I assure everyone it is not connected in any way to my daughter's disappearance," LaMar said in a statement released Wednesday. "I ask that you please not shift the focus away from the investigation and from finding Sierra.
"Please understand, I am a dad, and I want nothing more than to find my missing daughter."
A forensic team also examined Sierra’s computer and did not find anything relating to her disappearance. Investigators did not find any evidence of foul play or any issues that might indicate that she ran away from home, Cardoza told NBC News.
Teams from the sheriff’s Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement task force have worked to question every registered sex offender in the area to confirm his or her whereabouts when LaMar disappeared. More than 50 students have been questioned at Sobrato High School, and students have posted fliers of LaMar around the school and in town. Investigators also have questioned students at nearby Fremont High School, which LaMar attended before transferring to Sobrato in October when she moved in with her moth.
LaMar is described as 5 feet 2 inches tall, with a thin build. She was last seen carrying a Juicy brand black-and-pink purse.