SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - Nearly five years after Morgan Hill teen Sierra LaMar disappeared, the murder trial against her accused killer Antolin Garcia Torres is now underway with opening statements delivered Monday.
In opening statements, the prosecution's first statement to jurors "Sierra LaMar is dead. This man killed her." pointing to now 25-year-old Antolin Garcia Torres, who sat clean shaven and emotionless in the courtroom.
Prosecutors calling Sierra's disappearance a parents worst nightmare, playing a frantic 9-1-1 call from Sierra's mother. Sierra's family was visiby upset.
Back in March of 2012, Sierra vanished on her way to the school in Morgan Hill. Authorities arrested Garcia-Torres two months after the 15-year-old's disappearance, saying her DNA was found in the trunk of his car including Sierra's hair on a rope.
Prosecutors say Garcia-Torres's DNA was found on her clothing in a backpack tossed in a shed not far from Sierra's house. The prosecution revealing dirt stains and reflective beads from the road were found on Sierra's jeans indicating she had likely been dragged.
"She's reliving everything and it's just got to be horrendous knowing she's attending the trial for her daughter's murder and still has no idea where her daughter's remains are," said Marc Klaas of the Klaas Kids Foundation.
Klaas is describing what Sierra's mother is going through. He and search volunteers packed the courtroom.
Legal Analyst Steven Clark said prosecutors are relying heavily on forensic DNA evidence since Sierra's body has never been found. He said defense attorneys will likely cast doubt on a murder prosecution, caling Sierra a "missing person" or a runaway.
"What the D.A. needs to do is establish through anecdotal evidence by calling Sierra's mother and her friends is that this is not a girl who would run away," said Clark. "This is not a girl who would not communicate with her mom."
Opening statements are expected to continue Tuesday morning with the morning defense likely to speak in the afternoon. If convicted, Garcia-Torres could face the death penalty.