California man found guilty in murder of missing teen


May 9 (Reuters) - A California man was convicted on Tuesday in the abduction and murder of 15-year-old Sierra LaMar, whose body was never located after she disappeared while walking to a school bus stop in 2012, prosecutors said.

Jurors in a superior courthouse in Santa Clara County, about 50 miles southeast of San Francisco, found 26-year-old Antolin Garcia-Torres guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping, prosecutors and the victim's family said.

"Nothing will take away the pain and the sorrow that we experience every day and that we will continue to experience, (but) we truly have been praying for this chapter to have this type of ending," Marlene LaMar, Sierra's mother, said at a press conference after the verdict.

The victim's father, Steve LaMar, also spoke at the conference. "This has been a long time coming," he said.

Garcia-Torres' attorney, with the Alternate Defender Office, declined to comment.

LaMar was last seen on the morning of March 16, 2012 in Morgan Hill, a middle class city near the high-tech hub of San Jose. The high school cheerleader's purse, books and other belongings were found in a field about two miles from her family's home days after she vanished.

Garcia-Torres was arrested two months after the disappearance and charged with LaMar's murder. The teenager's DNA was found on items linked to Torres.

There was no indication that Garcia-Torres and LaMar, who lived about seven miles apart, had ever met previously.

In a separate case, Garcia-Torres was also convicted on Tuesday in the attempted kidnapping of three women in a grocery store parking lot in 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. (Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Dan Grebler)