FREEHOLD — A 19-year-old woman who disappeared without a trace two months ago was robbed, strangled and thrown off a bridge by two of her Facebook friends, prosecutors said Thursday.

Two Neptune City men have been charged with the death of Sarah Stern.

The news dashed hopes that Stern, whose abandoned car was found on a Jersey Shore bridge two months ago, would be found alive. Prosecutors said they have not yet recovered her body.

Liam McAtasney and Preston Taylor, both 19, will appear in court on Thursday afternoon, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster.

McAtasney was charged with murder, robbery and tampering with evidence with Preston, 19, charged with conspiracy, hindering prosecution and contempt.

Authorities did not say what the two suspects' relationship was to Stern, but the two remain Facebook friends with her. Taylor's Facebook account has a photo from May 2014 of him with Stern dressed in formal evening wear.

According to the criminal complaint signed Wednesday, McAtasney is accused of strangling Stern during a robbery at Stern's Neptune City home. McAtasney and Taylor are both accused of moving her body from her home and throwing her over the Route 35 bridge over the Shark River Inlet.

The complaint said the robbery involved stealing money from the house.

Stern went missing on Dec. 3 when her 1994 Oldsmobile was found parked on the Route 35 bridge over the Shark River Inlet in the early morning hours. No one had heard from her since and no sign of her was found during a volunteer search along the shore line in Monmouth County.

This is a breaking story. Check back for additional information.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at


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