Judge orders Sarah Stern disappearance suspect Preston Taylor to remain in jail
A Monmouth County judge has ordered that the suspect accused of helping to cover up the murder of 19-year-old Neptune City resident Sarah Stern must remain in jail.
Prosecuting attorney Meghan Doyle says that if Taylor were to be released on bail, he would pose a threat to the prosecutor's key witness, identified only as A.C.
Doyle alleges that Taylor knew about the plan to rob and murder Stern for six months prior to the killing. Murder suspect Liam McAtasney allegedly strangled Stern inside her home on Dec. 2 and then alerted Taylor to come to the house to help move her body, according to the state.
"He went to the victim's home. He found her body. He walked through the house for his co-defendants cellphone. He then took her body, removed it from the residence and left it under a bush," Doyle said.
Both suspects then allegedly went back to the home a few hours later, moved Stern's body from the backyard into her car and then dumped her over the Route 35 Bridge in Belmar.
Law enforcement officials tell News 12 New Jersey that McAtasney's phone was later found in Stern's driveway.
Taylor's father pleaded with Judge David Bauman to release his son, and several family friends spoke as character references. But Bauman pointed out that Taylor allegedly lied to police during the initial investigation and participated in the search for Stern's body to throw off suspicion.
Taylor's father also said on the stand that he moved all of his son's belongings out of the place Taylor shared with McAtasney and washed everything. Bauman said that this concerned the court.
Taylor's mother was heard sobbing in court after the proceedings.
Stern and the two suspects had been longtime friends who all went to school together. Stern and Taylor went to their high school junior prom together.
Sources involved in the investigation tell News 12 New Jersey that Taylor and McAtasney allegedly buried two lockboxes containing items stolen from Stern's home at Sandy Hook and Shark River Park.
Stern's body has still not been recovered.