Sarah Stern went missing in December 2016. Earlier this week, one of her childhood companion’s was found guilty of her murder.
Tonight, ABC News 20/20 will investigate the case surrounding Stern, and conduct interviews with family members, friends, and even people involved in the trial of Liam McAtasney.
Read on to learn more about Sarah Stern.
1. She Disappeared in December 2016
Stern disappeared in December 2016. Her body has never been found.
At the time of her death, she was an aspiring artist and had dropped out of community college.
At her trial on Tuesday, Stern’s father wept, stating, “Sarah’s up in heaven, she’s an angel… She was a great kid. It never should have ended like this.”
At first, Sarah’s death looked like a suicide. After an Uber driver called in seeing her abandoned car on the side of the road, police learned that Stern hadn’t been seen or heard from since the day before. The Washington Post writes, “Coast Guard helicopters, rescue boats and dive teams searched the estuary but came up empty-handed, and the river’s fast-moving current made it more than likely that a falling body would have been swept out to sea.”
When they interviewed childhood companion Liam McAtasney, he said that Stern had been trying to “get away”. He said that she had threatened to kill herself at least once before. The pair had known one another since elementary school. Within two months, McAtasney would be arrested in connection to her death.
2. Her Childhood Friend Was Found Guilty of Murdering Her
On Tuesday, Liam McAtasney, 21, was found guilty of murdering Sarah for her inheritance money and throwing her body off a bridge.
McAtasney was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, conspiracy, desecration of human remains and hindering apprehension. He will be sentenced May 24.
How did police identify him as the killer? McAtasney confessed to the murder in a chilling secret video recorded by one of his friends, Andrew Curry, who is an “amateur horror filmmaker.”
In the video, which was set up by police in Curry’s car, McAtasney not only describes how he killed Stern, but said he had planned the killing for over six months, and “was disappointed he only walked away with $10,000 in cash, believing the amount in a safe from Stern’s inheritance following her mother’s death was more substantial,” People reports.
In court, defense attorney Carlos Diaz-Cobo stated that the secretly recorded conversation was merely a “lie” intended to impress Curry.
3. Stern’s Junior Prom Date Was Involved in her Murder
After McAtasney strangled Stern, it is believed that a man named Preston Taylor helped him throw her body over the bridge. Taylor then drove McAtasney home; they left Stern’s car behind to make it look like a suicide.
Taylor, according to multiple outlets, was Stern’s junior prom date.
In court, he took a plea deal and testified against McAtasney, at one point saying, “It started off as plans to either burglarize her house or to rob her personally… Over time the conversations progressed to killing her.”
Taylor pleaded guilty to charges including robbery, disturbing human remains, and tampering with evidence.
4. Taylor Described McaAtasney as a “Manson-Like Person”
In his testimony against McAtasney, Taylor described his former roommate as a “Manson-like person.”
The duo’s plan wasn’t complicated– McAtasney would strangle Stern, call Taylor on a walkie-talkie, and he would help him get home. In return for his help, Taylor would get $3,000 of the money.
In court, Taylor testified that “The stories about Stern having a troubled relationship with her father and being emotionally unstable were all lies that McAtasney had cooked up to make it look as if the 19-year-old had killed herself,” reports the Washington Post.
Taylor also testified that they expected to find $50,000 to $100,000 in the box at Stern’s Avon house. However, when the duo returned to Stern’s home after her murder to count the money, they learned it amounted to “a little more than $2,000 in bills that were in such poor condition they ‘looked like they had been chewed up by mice.'”
5. ’20/20′ Will Interview Sarah’s Father Michael Stern
In their two-hour interview, ABC News’ 20/20 will interview Michael Stern, Sarah’s father; Carlos Diaz-Cobo, Liam’s Defense Attorney; TJ Pingitore, and David Kayal, the drivers who found Sarah’s abandoned vehicle; Chris Decker and Meghan Doyle, prosecutors in the case; and Belinda Souza, Sarah’s childhood friend, among others.
The segment will also feature hidden camera video of Liam’s confession, 911 calls, and police dashboard camera video.
Be sure to tune in tonight at 9pm ET/PT on ABC.