A young New Jersey woman missing since early December is believed to have been murdered by a classmate who allegedly conspired with a friend to dispose of her body.
Sarah Stern, 19, had been missing since December 2 when her car was found on the Route 35 bridge in Belmar, New Jersey — suggesting a suicide that now appears to have been part of a cover-up attempt by the man charged with killing her. Stern had reportedly withdrawn a large sum of cash from her bank account just before she disappeared, leading to some speculation that she may have fled voluntarily.
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) February 2, 2017
But now it appears that Stern was murdered during a robbery attempt at her Neptune City home, though her body has not yet been found. According to ABC 7, Liam McAtasney, 19, was charged on numerous counts related to Stern’s death: first-degree murder, robbery, desecration of human remains, conspiracy and hindering apprehension. A second suspect, Preston Taylor, also 19, was charged with charged with desecration of human remains, conspiracy and hindering apprehension.
Both men are former classmates of Stern’s and reportedly pled not guilty. Police apprehended McAtasney on a tip that he knew about the large cash withdrawal Stern reportedly made just before her disappearance.
According to NBC New York, prosecuting attorneys have accused McAtasney with strangling the young woman during an attempted robbery at her home. They claim he summoned Taylor to the home and both men removed the body, allegedly tossing it over the Route 35 bridge into the Shark River. Her father, whose wife died three years ago, is desperate to find her body, but there is a chance it is no longer in the river.
“It is possible due to oceanic currents and tides that her remains might have been swept out of the river into the Atlantic,” Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni told ABC 7 New York. “But we are hoping for a miracle.”
Photo: Neptune City Police