Search for Jersey Shore woman’s body continued over the weekend

    Sarah Stern. Images courtesy of Stern's family.

    Sarah Stern. Images courtesy of Stern's family.

    State police continue to search for the body of a 19-year-old Monmouth County woman who authorities say was strangled during a robbery late last year.

    The search for Sarah Stern of Neptune City remained focused Sunday on the Shark River Inlet near the ocean, utilizing boats and a helicopter. Crews haven’t fanned out beyond that area since resuming the search on Friday. 

    But authorities discovered new evidence today.

    According to, police found two safes buried in separate locations, Sandy Hook and Shark River Park. One contained thousands of dollars, the report said. But officials didn’t say what lead them to the discovery.

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    Stern’s car was found parked, with the keys in the vehicle, on the Route 35 bridge connecting Neptune and Belmar at 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 3.

    That sparked a search of the Shark River by the US Coast Guard, New Jersey State Police, and local and county search and rescue units at daybreak that day. Volunteers fanned out throughout the area the following week to search for Stern, and authorities offered a $5,000 reward

    Authories said police found Stern’s house unlocked when they checked her residence that day.

    Two lifelong friends of Stern were charged in her death last Thursday, including one who was her prom date.

    Liam McAtasney was charged Thursday with Stern’s murder, while Preston Taylor is charged with helping dump the body.

    Authorities have not revealed the information or evidence that led to the pair. Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said on Friday that his office is hopeful that Stern’s body is found.

    “We’re looking for some kind of miracle,” he said. 

    Attorneys for both men have not returned calls seeking comment on the charges.


    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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