Possible New Evidence Found in Search for Sierra LaMar

ABC News

Police investigating the disappearance of California cheerleader Sierra LaMar are examining and empty handcuff box and two used condoms to determine whether they are key pieces of evidence.

"They're going to be submitted to the crime lab for analysis and we won't know if they're related until we get the results back from the crime lab," Santa Clara Sheriff's Office's Sgt. Jose Cardoza told ABCNews.com today.

The two items were found at the dead-end of a rural road within a two-mile radius of the teen's Morgan Hills, Calif., home, Cardoza said.

LaMar, 15, was last seen leaving the home by her mother at 6 a.m. on March 16, before she left for school.  LaMar's mother realized she was missing after she did not return home from school that day. Her school bus driver later said that the teen never got on the bus that morning.

The discovery of possible new evidence in the case came just one day after officials announced that they are now treating LaMar's puzzling disappearance as a possible abduction.

On Wednesday authorities announced they believe LaMar may have been abducted or kidnapped, or that she voluntarily left home but is now being held against her will.  They also suspect that the key to solving the case will come from a local source.

"That's the leading theory, that whoever is responsible is someone from Morgan Hill or knows the area of Morgan Hill," Cardoza said today.

The handcuff box and condoms were found by members of a volunteer search crew, the KlaasKids Foundation, in a location that had been searched five times before.  Cardoza said they will not know until further testing whether the items were overlooked in earlier searches or had been recently placed there.  The dead-end road where the items were found is said to be a popular hangout for teens.

A search of waterways, ponds and reservoirs conducted by authorities on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Morgan Hill area came up empty.

The Santa Clara Sheriff's Office has opened a tips line that Cardoza said has so far received over 600 tips.

"Detectives are still continuing to canvass and follow up on leads and tips," he said.  "Unfortunately none of them have been beneficial to the case, but each day, each tip that we get we do have detectives go out and look."

The possible new evidence discovered Thursday is within 1.5 miles from where searchers found LaMar's cell phone a day after her disappearance and a bag of her clothes last week.

The cell phone was found alongside the road about a mile away from her home in the opposite direction of her bus stop. The charger for her cell phone was found in her room at home. Police said the phone looked as if he had been tossed. A forensic investigation of the phone and her computer yielded no leads.

LaMar's mother has said she knew something was seriously wrong when the phone was found.

"I can't imagine Sierra without her cell phone," her mother said. "That's when it became a harsh reality."

The teenager's Juicy brand bag contained a neatly folded pair of pants and a T-shirt, evidence that provided no clues about whether LaMar was abducted or ran away, according to authorities.

LaMar is described as 5- feet-2 with long brown hair. Her father told ABC News she loves listening to music and was a cheerleader at her old school.

"We want you to come back home, we know you will find your way back to us," said Marlene LaMar, Sierra LaMar's mother, at a candlelight vigil last Friday.

ABC News' Sarah Hoberman contributed to this report.