“Inseparable” Childhood Friends Accused Of Killing 19-Year-Old Classmate

The teens had joined in her search party. Now they're the prime suspects in her murder.

By Jaime Lutz

New Jersey friends Sarah Stern, Liam McAtasney and Preston Taylor were so close that classmates called them “inseparable”—until Stern, 19, went missing, and McAtasney and Taylor were charged in her murder.

After Stern went missing in December, McAtasney and Taylor, both 19, had joined her search party, the Asbury Park Press reported. Now, they’re accused of strangling Stern and dumping her body over a bridge.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Sarah’s father Michael Stern told the Asbury Park Press. “Unfathomable. Deplorable. Disgusting.”

Investigators said that Taylor confessed to helping dispose of Stern’s body.

According to the prosecutors' account, when Stern was driving through town in her car, McAtasney somehow managed to stop her, rob her, and strangle her to death. He hid her body in some bushes.

Eight hours later, prosecutors allege, both men put her body in the front seat of her car, drove it to a nearby bridge, and then dumped the body off the side of the bridge and into the river. They left the car on the bridge.

Prosecutors said that McAtasney had plotted the attack for at least six months, and that Taylor was in on the conspiracy.

McAtasney was charged in the death, robbery, and corpse disposal of Sarah Stern. Taylor was charged in the disposal of the body. Both suspects are being held without bond.

[Image: Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. L-R: Taylor, McAtasney]

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