By 12:30 p.m., organizers had counted 120 return volunteers while 54 others, like Lila Leath, 50, of San Jose, were searching for the first time.
“My husband thought this was a good idea to come down here and search,” Leath said. “We just want to help find that little girl.”
Search crews, made up of between five to seven people, were dispatched to the same 20-mile radius that volunteers have focused on during previous searches.
This time, however, searchers scoured terrain in that zone that hadn’t been canvassed before.
“We focused a lot on new areas that we haven’t searched before,” said Brian Miller, a family friend of the LaMars and a search-and-rescue organizer. “We stayed within the 20-mile radius and looked at areas of interest.”
Miller said he personally knows Sierra because his daughter is on the same cheer leading squad as the Ann Sobrato High School sophomore.
Although Sierra has been missing for just over seven weeks, Miller said that those who have committed themselves to finding her aren’t giving up any time soon.
“What we are doing here is eliminating doubt and keeping hope alive,” he said.
Volunter searches are now primarily conducted on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Miller explained. This upcoming week will see searches on both days.
The schedule of future volunteer searches as well as fundraising events, Miller said, will be posted on the Find Sierra LaMar website.
Saturday marked Michael Chapman, 52, of Novato's sixth search. Chapman said he’s a trained search-and-rescue volunteer and has been on teams looking for missing persons in rough terrain in places like Yosemite National Park.
“I’ll go wherever I am assigned,” he said. “I got a call that they needed more volunteers here so I signed right up.”
Chapman noted the volunteers running search operations out of Burnett are methodical about their efforts to find Sierra.
“I like the system they have here,” he said. “The organizers really seem to know what they are doing and really understand what needs to be done to maintain command control.”
Although the , Dori Prado, a volunteer who organized through downtown Morgan Hill, said considering the length of time Sierra has been missing, the turn out of volunteers—particularly new volunteers—was encouraging.
“We’re staying motivated and trying to keep a good system going,” she said.
Prado said that in the first two weeks after Sierra’s disappearance, her boss allowed her to take time off and commit 100 percent of her time to searching.
Now that she’s back to her regular work schedule, Prado said she does what she can when she can and hopes others who might have time constraints can also find ways to contribute.
“Even if you can’t come out to search, post, post, post,” she said. “Post her picture on Facebook and Twitter. Get fliers out there. I’ve noticed some [posters] have been taken down on roadsides, but we need to put those back up. We need to keep the attention on her.”
Prado said volunteers are planning a community meeting with four or five panelists in the coming weeks to discuss Sierra’s disappearance and let the community know what actions have been taken so far to try to find her.
Gilroy Patch will provide details of that meeting as they become available.
For previous coverage of the Sierra LaMar case, refer to the Sierra LaMar Disappearance: Comprehensive Updates and Information page.
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