Search for body of missing teen Sarah Stern continues as new evidence emerges

The search for the body of missing Neptune City 19-year-old Sarah Stern continued Monday as new evidence about the case came to light.



Evidence uncovered by investigators over the weekend seems to suggest great lengths were taken to hide Stern's killing.



Sources close to the investigation tell News 12 New Jersey that authorities found two safety deposit boxes buried in the ground. One of the boxes was found at Sandy Hook and the other at Shark River Park. The boxes apparently contained items stolen from Stern's home.



Sandy Hook is about 20 miles away from where Stern's car was found by the Route 35 Bridge in Belmar.



News 12 has also learned that a cellphone belonging to alleged murder suspect Liam McAtasney, 19, was found in the Stern driveway in Neptune City. McAtasney apparently reported the phone stolen.



McAtasney is accused of strangling Stern and robbing her home of thousands of dollars on Dec. 2. Officials say he then enlisted his friend Preston Taylor, 19, to help him dump her body over the Route 35 Bridge.



Stern was reported missing the next day when her car was found abandoned by the bridge.



Friends say the two suspects and Stern were once close friends who grew up together. Taylor was Stern's date to the prom in high school. The community was shocked to find out who was accused of killing her.



Stern's father tells News 12 that he wouldn't be surprised if more people were involved in the crime.



"I have a feeling there's a third person or more people," Michael Stern says. "Information seems to be coming more freely since [McAtasney and Taylor] were arrested, so there could have been some fear of retaliation."



An array of candles and flowers has been placed at the spot where people say the suspects threw Stern's body over the bridge.



A detention hearing for Taylor is expected to be held Tuesday morning. McAtasney's court hearing is scheduled for next week.



The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is asking anyone who might have any additional information about the crime to give the office a call.


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