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tv   2020  ABC  March 27, 2020 9:01pm-11:00pm PDT

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what in fact happened to sarah stern? >> sarah's car was found early on a saturday morning. >> she just disappeared. >> just vanished. >> what do you guys have this thing listed as? a missing person? >> hello. police department. >> there's nobody in the house. >> had she been different than normal litly? and for how long? >> in the past she has had a tendency to have self-destructive, suicidal behavior. >> how could this girl just commit suicide? >> if she did jump off the bridge, what are the odds that she's not out in the ocean?
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>> something is not right here. maybe this wasn't a suicide. maybe she was murdered. >> this is the last time we see her face. >> still can't find sarah. wondering where sarah is. >> they were sarah's friends. they had been making this dark, bone-chilling plan. >> you are the only person on this planet that knows. >> when you saw the video, what was your reaction? >> i need a minute. ♪ >> tell us about neptune city, new jersey. >> neptune city is this small little sleepy, tight-knit community right in the heart of neptune township. everybody in that town generally knows everyone else. >> it's a couple miles from the beach. it touches on belmar and some of the shore communities. >> so there's a lot of beach going. there's a lot of the kids growing up as lifeguards.
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>> neptune city more closely resembles middle america than it does the jersey shore that's portrayed on television. ♪ >> this is bruce springsteen country. ♪ this is the area that bruce springsteen is singing about, writing about in "born to run." ♪ baby, we were born to run >> this case would rock any town, much less a county, but it's been especially impactful in a town like neptune city because everyone is just so tight-knit there and close with one another. >> 911. where is the emergency? >> it's not an emergency. actually on the belmar bridge there's a car that's abandoned. it's off to the side of the road. >> i kind of got a strange feeling, like why would this older model car be completely dark late at night like that
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at 2:30 in the morning? so it prompted me to call, you know, 911 and to give the report. >> the car did not appear to have been in an accident, and it was left abandoned. >> and was there anybody inside the vehicle? >> i looked -- no. >> there was a number of people we learned about later that had seen the car on the bridge. a couple of people called it in later once they realized what had happened. >> it's sort of up here at the crest of the bridge. like right about here was the car. it just looked broken down. >> it looked like he just popped the hood and was walking around the front of the car, that i thought he was going to look under the hood and fix his car. >> and it started from there, tracking down who the owner of that vehicle was.
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>> this is a small town. word travels fast. the cops know, obviously, a lot of people in this small town. they have a car parked on a bridge. and they quickly find out it's normally driven by a 19-year-old by the name of sarah stern. >> the phone rang around 3:00 in the morning. they said, "do you know anything about the car, gray oldsmobile?" and i said, "yeah, my daughter drives that car." a million things go through your mind. >> you were in florida. >> yeah. >> you drove from florida back to new jersey. >> at 3:30, 4:00 in the morning there's no traffic. so you can drive pretty quick. >> sarah stern was very well known to the community. due to the fact that her family was very well known, sarah was a kid that everybody knew. she was always around. that kind of threw everybody off with that car just being left at
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the top of that bridge with absolutely no good rhyme or reason as to why. >> no one knew where sarah was, and they didn't know why they couldn't get in touch with her. she was attached to her phone like most 19-year-olds are. and there would be no reason for why her phone was off and she wasn't taking calls, taking text messages on a friday night. >> no answer on her phone. >> police then immediately start investigating, and this becomes not just an abandoned car on a bridge, but a missing person. there's this 19-year-old girl who has gone off the grid, and no one knows why. >> we're standing in the middle of a softball field because you have that in connection with sarah as well.
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>> yeah. she was definitely a much better player than i was. but yeah, we played in our elementary school together, and then we went on to play at neptune high school, where we went. >> she was an athlete. she played softball, but towards the end of her high school career she became more devoted to arts and digital media. >> i think sarah was an artist. i think she was creative. i think she was a sweet girl, based upon everything i've ever heard about her, people loved her. she knew who her friends were, and a lot of people cared about her. >> the school would do the windows for the holidays. >> wow, she was really good. wow.
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>> this is probably 2014, '15. i'm not sure exactly, but probably the last couple of years. >> you weren't kidding. you could feel how much he loved being a dad to sarah. >> oh, gorgeous and really -- >> she just amazed me at some of the stuff she did. >> wow. >> liam mcatasney was a childhood friend of sarah's. he went to high school with her. each other. liam started woodrow wilson school in seventh grade. that was the school that sarah attended, and they were instantly friends. >> i think she saw someone she could trust and someone who genuinely wanted to be there for her and be her friend. >> preston was another friend of sarah's. they weren't as close as sarah and liam were, but they were friends. preston actually took sarah to the junior prom. >> preston and liam became
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friends freshman year in high school. and you know, they obviously maintained a close friendship even after high school. they wound up moving in together. >> i think that she definitely thought of them as really good friends and someone she could confide in and trust and talk to. >> when you're leafing through the neptune high school yearbook 2015, the trident, you really get a picture of this friend group and how it emerged. then you see sarah stern. she was most artistic. her quote, "be yourself. don't ever be what you think other people would want you to be." there's a best friend section of the yearbook where you see liam and his twin bother, seamus, and preston. liam mcatasney has a quote -- "the question isn't what we are going to do. the question is, what aren't we going to do?" >> sarah wasn't really interested in boys. she was very much doing her own thing, looking to pursue her art, start her career.
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she was never romantically involved with liam, nor preston. and she was happy to have them as good guy friends. they bonded over things like movies and video games and comic books, the things that she was genuinely into. >> early in sarah's life, when she was a freshman in high school, her mom passed away from cancer. >> she definitely learned to lean on her dad and her friends and use that support system around her when she needed it. so she never had a reason to feel alone. >> sarah and her dad were very close. they became even closer after her mother passed away. >> she started to develop, started to blossom, and she had this passion for art. for the youtube scene. and she just had plans and dreams. >> "a reckless optimist" was her favorite quote. >> a reckless optimist. >> yeah. you know, always looking at the bright side of things and always marching forward no matter what. >> so, later that day, the second uber driver calls the
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police. >> i called belmar's dispatcher and explained to him i saw a car on the bridge and i saw a male. and the dispatcher said, "a male? we're not looking for a male, we're looking for a female." so that's where, like, the first hint of something weird was going on for me. >> after the 911 call was put in and police find sarah stern's car on the route 35 bridge, they are frantic to find where she may be, anyone who was with her or who had last seen her, and so they are knocking on doors. (vo) at sprint, our priority is keeping our customers, employees, and communities safe. during these uncertain times we want you to get the great service you expect without leaving the safety of your home. makes shopping easier by offering
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so, on this brisk, cold day, i can't even imagine what it's like to be on this bridge for
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you and knowing this was the last place your daughter was known to be. >> it's always been difficult. >> it was so emotional on that bridge with michael stern, sarah's father. it's heartbreaking on so many levels and his pain is palpable. >> it's a feeling of emptiness and hurt. >> the shark river runs underneath this bridge. it's not particularly deep, but it's very dangerous because the current moves quickly. that water ultimately ends up in the atlantic, which could potentially be important as you look at this case. >> by 3:17 a.m., that car is towed off the bridge. that's kind of where the investigation starts. the neptune city police goes to sarah's house on ridge terrace. >> is there a dog in here? >> i heard a dog barking. >> there's a really unique element to this case, and a great one, where the police, as
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they go and interview people, they have body cameras on. >> camera's on, yeah. >> which really provide a real-time window into exactly what the police are doing, what they're saying, even what they're thinking. >> there's a teenager that's supposed to be driving it. it's parked on top of that bridge, and we're getting no answer at the house. i have an open door at the house. i might go inside and make sure everything's kosher here. i want to make sure we don't have a jumper. >> neptune city police! hello! >> hello? >> neptune city force! >> police go to her house. the back door is open, and the lights are on, and there is no sign of sarah. >> hello? >> the only thing home is her dog buddy, who she loved more than anything, who normally has his run of the house. and now when they went to go
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look for her, he was locked in his crate. >> but the dog's in the cage, so somebody put the dog in the cage. hello. police department. >> she had so much love in her heart for her friends and her family and her dog, buddy. she loved that dog more than anybody i've ever known to love an animal before. >> little treat for the >> we went through the whole house, there was nobody home. >> sarah stern lives with her father michael, and so obviously he's somebody logically the police would reach out to, and they quickly realized that he wasn't in town. they found him in florida on vacation. >> they were checking the house, they said, not in the house. now we're kind of wondering what's going on. >> she would never leave without buddy. she would never leave buddy, her dog.
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>> the dog was in the cage. her car was found with nobody in it. >> robin draper is one of the stern's neighbors. her daughter carly and sarah grew up together. >> okay. she brought over tonight a tin. can i bring my mother's stuff to your house? >> so, she brought a bin of stuff of her mother's to your house? >> i said yes, i'll put it in the cubby. i tried texts her, and nothing. >> we know that there was at some point sarah was taking personal belongings, putting them in bins and distributing them. and on that particular day, the day that sarah went missing, liam and sarah went over to the draper's house and left off some bins of some of her personal items. >> is she depressed? >> i think she's depressed. >> not suicidal in any way, do you think? >> i don't know. >> police quickly find out that she was last seen with one of her best friends. >> i said, "did anybody get in touch with liam mcatasney?" >> and sergeant bradley hines
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goes to his apartment and bangs on the door pretty furiously. and opens to a groggy liam who had seemingly just woken up. it was the middle of the night. and is asking him about, where is sarah? >> liam? you're liam? you got a second? can i come in and talk to you real quick? >> yeah, no problem officer. >> is sarah here by any chance? >> no. >> when was the last time you talked to her? >> i was with her today. >> i'm going to turn some light on if you don't mind. >> i mean, we went to get food today. >> and you went to work at what time? >> uh -- 4:30. >> okay. so you haven't talked to her since 4:30? >> no. >> you have a cell phone you can reach out to her on? >> i actually haven't been able to find my cell phone. >> any idea as to where it's at? >> it's been gone all day. >> liam tells him that they spent the afternoon and the early part of the evening together before he had to go to work at brennan steakhouse. and he hadn't heard from her after that.
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>> what was her mindset the last time you talked to her? >> i just know she's been trying to get away. she's been telling me she's going to canada. >> liam starts to tell sergeant hines that she has been going through a lot, that her relationship with her father has become somewhat volatile over the last few months and that she was lacking ooking to get out. >> trying to get away, okay. she's been real depressed lately? >> her dad is crazy. >> okay. and then she's dealing with the loss of her mother. >> that she wanted to move to canada, that she was packing up these things, and she was ready to go. >> and he freely shared, "yeah, i was just with her last night. she wasn't very happy. she appeared depressed. it appeared like she wanted to leave, wasn't getting along well with her father." >> if you hear anything, call the neptune city or the neptune township police department. >> okay. >> thank you. >> hey, it's sergeant hindes, neptune city.
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what do you guys have this thing listed as, this car on the bridge? is it a missing person? she's been very depressed. her father's got a new relationship. she's not getting along with her father. there's all kinds of emotional issues with her. >> i woke up around 5:00 a.m. the morning of december 3rd. i hear my mom downstairs on the phone and she was crying. and she was like they can't find sarah. and i was like what? >> it's a sense of hopelessness when you have no idea. sarah's my only child, and it's a hard feeling that we couldn't find her. >> she had just disappeared? >> just vanished. we've all been here before. the conference room. the speaker phone. the missing files. not in the room? then you're not in the know. well, this has been nice, but can we not? microsoft teams invites everyone you work with to work together. be seen, be heard, be there when you're not. share your files, and your opinion. and maybe even a happy little fruit guy.
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we were about an hour into the search when we discovered who we were looking for. kind of sent a tingle down my spine. sarah was our neighbor for her entire life. i've been on a lot of searches for a lot of people, but this is the first time we were searching for somebody that we knew. so it made it a little more difficult. >> liam, i got to throw something in here, okay? you know what's going on here? do you know why we're standing here talking to you? >> yeah, i have a pretty good idea. >> we had gone to liam's
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mother's house over on bradley street here in neptune city to see if we can locate him and just kind of talk to him about what he might have known. >> early in an investigation police are trying to rule people out. they're talking to people who maybe they have questions about. they want to follow up. the goal is, rule this person out as a possible suspect. >> the resources that are out there right now looking for her, the amount of manpower, we have people swimming in the shark river in this cold, cold water. we have boats. we have helicopters. dude, if you know anything about where this girl is, or have any contact with her, you need to let us know. >> believe me, i -- >> and exactly what it was that you had spoken to her about yesterday afternoon before you went your way and she went her way, you need to open up and let this detective know everything. >> did liam cooperate with police and investigators? >> he was willing to talk with police as a friend of hers who was a witness. >> we're not looking to get you in trouble. >> we want to find her and make sure she's safe and okay. >> they're just generally trying to get as much information as
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they can. they ask liam about -- you know, was she ever depressed? did she say anything to you about where she may be? >> has she been different than normal lately? and for how long? well, in the past she has had a tendency to have self-destructive, suicidal behavior. i actually know -- >> how long ago? >> years ago. >> he started talking to us about how sarah was miserable living with her father. she talked about running away to get away from her dad. >> over the past few months she's been telling me -- excuse me -- how bad her relationship with her father is and how she just needs to get out of here. >> why was it bad? what made it bad? >> fighting. >> arguing, fighting? >> fighting, constantly. elainand giving great detail about things that they'd done.
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>> so yesterday, you guys went to taco bell, you dropped the stuff off at the drapers'. >> you went to taco bell first, or you went to the drapers'? >> taco bell first. then to the drapers'. >> and then you left. >> then to her house. >> then to her house. >> hung out, i left. >> what time was that around? >> 4:45. >> 4:45. >> yeah. >> and then you worked til when? >> i worked until 10:00. >> okay. >> i was supposed to work until midnight, but i got off at 10:00. >> and then you just came back here? >> yeah, i went back there. >> when the police interview liam, they are able to sort of timeline where sarah was because that becomes very important as you try to sort out fact from fantasy in investigating a case. >> who was with you? >> just my roommate. >> she didn't come back? >> no. >> she didn't text you, call you, nothing last night? >> i mean, i didn't have my phone. so i wish i could tell you. >> nothing cut caught me off guard or out of the ordinary in that conversation.
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again, liam, we've said it a couple times -- i'm gonna throw it at you one more time, dude. we just want to make sure she's okay. nobody's going to get into any trouble here. we've just got to make sure sarah's all right. >> on december 6, 2016, sarah's family organized a civilian search. there were hundreds of people at this search. people from the community, people she had gone to school with, friends of her family, her friends. >> it's been a full week since 19-year-old sarah stern of neptune was last seen, and now her family and friends are organizing a search party. >> family is going to, if you will, take the matters into its own hands, get a search party together. >> the entire community, not just in neptune city, but so many that knew her, friends, and family from surrounding communities all went out searching for her. you had mr. stern out there, sarah stern's dad, and the mcatasney twins. liam, as well as his brother,
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both participated in it. >> pretty strong, so hopefully we're going to find something today. >> the detectives did spend time looking at different routes from her house to the bridge to see if we could find surveillance or anything, and there was nothing. >> police are searching for any evidence, and then they think they get a break. they find out there is a surveillance camera under the route 35 bridge. and another camera on the neighboring railroad bridge. they go to the scene and they think, yes, we're finally going to see what happened on that bridge that night, only to find out both of the cameras hadn't been working for years. >> you know, unfortunately we didn't have any cameras that were working on the bridge. >> those may be the only broken cameras in this story, because there were a lot of other cameras that were working. some of the evidence happened right here because you had a neighbor with a camera.
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>> right. i knew that they had cameras, but i didn't know if they caught anything. but when i got back that night, saturday night, we started reviewing the tape and stuff and we saw sarah and liam coming and going during the day. >> sarah stern's neighbor has a surveillance camera that actually caught liam leaving late afternoon, which sort of corroborates his story that he was going to work. >> so much later after liam leaves late afternoon, sarah's car is witnessed with this camera backing out of her driveway, but they can't determine who's actually driving the car. >> her car left that house close to 11:45. and then it ended up on the bridge. into a smaller life?
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[ singing continues ] why'd you stop? i was listening. [ microphone feedback ]
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so what is this? this is pretty much the same thing? >> like i said, you know, the detective from the county is going to come in and talk to you. >> hey, liam. thanks for coming in, man. >> no problem. >> i'm brian. i'm a detective with the prosecutor's office. nice to meet you, brian. >> the goal of that interview was for me to get to meet liam. and also speak to him directly in an effort to find sarah. >> he was being cooperative with police. he was helping in the search efforts. >> he was always cooperative. he answered all their questions. >> who do you live with, liam? >> i live with my roommate,
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preston. preston taylor. >> is he friends with sarah also? >> yeah. yeah. we all went to high school together. >> he had been questioned at this point several times and was looking to give any information he could. >> and what's the extent of your relationship? >> i would say we're pretty close friends. >> was she ever your girlfriend? >> no. >> sarah's friends and family portray her as this happy-go-lucky girl that never had any reason to say she would hurt herself or hurt someone else, but liam portrays a different picture. >> does she ever talk about liking guys or -- >> not that i know of. >> girls? >> no. she has been known to obsess over girls in the past though.
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>> he talks about an ex-girlfriend of his, maggie, who sarah became obsessed with. >> she just would always say stuff like, "maggie, if you don't come here right now, i'm going to kill myself." >> during his interview with detectives, liam also asks them this question. >> one thing i wanted to talk to you guys about was if she -- she did jump off the bridge, what are the odds that she's not somewhere all the way out in the ocean by now? >> what kind of question is that? >> i don't understand what the fascination is about that particular statement. he's asking a question because this is a boy in a room with two men who are trying to figure out what happened to his best friend.
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>> what was interesting, when he asked the question, he also waved with his hand, he gestured. i found the question very odd. i would have expected him to ask us questions like, what are we doing to find her? liam didn't ask any of those questions. >> did she tell you she was going to jump off the bridge? >> no. if she had told me that she was going to jump off the bridge, there would have been no way that i could have gone to work that night. she's been saying she needs to get away, go to canada. get away from her dad. >> i think canada was a place that she had been, that she had a great experience at. it was something that she talked about potentially moving there. >> is she in canada? >> i couldn't tell you. i can't honestly tell you that. i'm one of her closest friends, and i have no idea why she wouldn't tell me anything before she left.
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>> when did you last see sarah? >> when i was leaving her house to go to work. >> it's interesting, because liam is very chatty in these initial first interviews, but eventually time runs out. he hires a lawyer, and he stops talking. >> i just thought to reach out to my aunt who is a lawyer, and she said, "you really shouldn't have liam meeting with any detectives or police without a lawyer present." >> so, your mom contacted an attorney on your behalf, and your dad contacted an attorney on your behalf. we're not going to talk to you any further today. we do appreciate you coming down. >> any good lawyer is going to tell a client in this situation, stop talking. don't talk to the police.
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>> liam mcatasney stops talking with police. and so investigators turn to his friend and his roommate, preston taylor, to try and get some answers. >> doing all right? >> yeah. >> thanks for coming down to talk with us. what did liam tell you about the day he spent with her? >> he said nothing that really seemed out of the ordinary. >> everything that liam had told us, preston had confirmed. there were no real inconsistencies that they presented. >> at one point in the interview, police ask preston what he thinks happened to sarah stern. >> what do you think's happened?
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>> and if you watch and listen closely, you'll hear his voice slightly crack. and his hand reaches up to wipe something from his eye. >> i think she jumped. >> okay. why do you think she jumped? >> just from the stories that i've heard about what goes on with her and her dad. >> i went down that night and watched his statement. when brian came out of the statement, he said, "something's not right here, at all." >> i did not have a good feeling about the information that both liam and preston had told us. i wasn't satisfied that something didn't happen to her. >> now the police are into a number of days into this investigation, and they don't really know what happened to sarah. is she dead? is she alive?
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they have no body. >> but here's the thing that really gets the detective's attention. sarah has a safe deposit box at the bank. >> the bank in and of itself became a big deal. that little vent that it's no won't stay open.. except it is. that's why the vent is one more thing we check before a car can be a certified carmax car. the way it should be. carmax.
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it's another day of searching for a new jersey teen. the search for her remains is focused on the shark river inlets. >> her car, 1994 delta 88, was found on the bridge over the shark river. a reward is now being offered in this case. of course, police are saying if anyone has any information, on the whereabouts on 19-year-old sarah stern, from neptune, to please give police a call. >> she seemed very happy. she asked me to hang out that night.
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>> carly draper had an encounter with liam and sarah the day sarah went missing. >> and she was telling me that she wanted to move to canada. she hugged me. and i was like, love you. she was like, love you too. and that was the last time i saw her. >> as if her disappearance wasn't mysterious enough, it turns out there's another big twist in this case -- sarah appears to have come into a large sum of cash. >> sarah, her family had a second home in avon-by-the-sea. a couple months before she disappears, she's with liam, apparently, and discovers a shoebox full of cash left by her late mother. >> she had spent about $10,000 of it and put the rest in a safety deposit box at carney bank in bradley beach. >> in the hours before she disappeared, sarah went to the bank. >> one of her cousins got a
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message from the assistant manager at the bank who said "by the way, sarah was here yesterday afternoon." that's when the police get told, and then we send the subpoenas and we get the surveillance footage, and then the bank records. >> we of course wanted to know what time she accessed the box and what the contents of the box was, if there was anything that had remained in there. >> the bank has a two-key system. so the bank maintains a key, and the customer has a key. pull the box out, open the box up, and find $25,250.00 in 20s, 50s, and 100s. >> my first thought was wow, this is a lot of money. then it was this is all old, old currency. and it was in a very bad condition. >> after finding this money, sarah immediately called her aunt linda stitely. linda told her, "don't tell anyone about this." sarah unfortunately didn't listen to that advice. >> police learn that she has a
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safety deposit box with a lot of cash in it. does that tell them where to go or who the suspect is? no, but it's certainly something they're going to want to follow up on. >> before liam had stopped talking, detectives had asked him about the bank. >> liam had failed to tell us that he had gone to the bank with sarah. liam had only told us about the fact that they left the house one time. >> and sarah and i went to taco bell. >> which taco bell did you go to? >> the one in neptune. >> okay. did you eat there? >> no, we went back to her house. >> okay. did you stay there the whole time after you went back to her house? >> yeah. we actually went up into her room and played some video games. >> we were able to view surveillance video recordings captured from across the street, and what we saw was that sarah and liam had actually left the house in a car two times. so we of course were interested in knowing, where did they go that second trip? >> did you go to the bank? >> i was with her. >> okay.
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what'd she do at the bank? >> why did she stop at the bank? >> just something to do with her money. i don't know. she had found money in the avon house a few months ago, and she has a lockbox full of money in there. i don't know if she was taking money out, putting money in there. >> how much money? >> i couldn't tell you. she never told me. she said it could be -- she told me a range. she said it could be from $20,000 to $100,000. she wasn't sure. >> did she give you any of the money? >> no. >> police find bank surveillance video of the day sarah went missing, and she's inside the bank seemingly very happy, lighthearted. she even waves goodbye to the bank manager, and this is the last time we see her face. >> in my mind it eliminated the possibility that she ran away.
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you know, at 19 years old, if you have access to $25,000 in cash and you're running away, i would think that you would want to take that with you. >> at that point, we had also located social security card, her passport, as well as canadian and u.s. currency inside her bedroom. finding that currency inside her safety deposit box told us that it was highly unlikely that she would have left. >> police continue to search. there are numerous police departments working on this missing persons case, and they continuously come up with nothing. >> we didn't have any answers. >> no sign of sarah stern anywhere, no sign of a body. >> mm-hmm. >> my impression was is that this would just end up turning into a cold missing person's case. because we had nothing. no indication she committed suicide. no indication that she did, in fact, leave the area willingly. no indication that she was murdered. >> it definitely never made
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sense to me. she loved everyone, so for her to leave without a trace and not say goodbye to her friends and family, that's not sarah. that wasn't sarah. >> her ability to disappear and move to canada and create some fake identity was never really plausible. the suicide angle of it was a little bit more believable. >> one detective, brian weisbrot, told me the first time i met him that he wouldn't stop looking for sarah. he wouldn't stop until he found out what happened to her. >> and then police started to realize that maybe this wasn't a suicide and sarah didn't run away. >> neptune city police. hello! >> this girl that we thought had killed herself, all of a sudden there was a major break in the case. >> the entire theory of our investigation changed right then and there.
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>> i got a call one night. it was detectives. just sit down, we want to tell you something. >> and the person who turns this whole case upside down, jumping right out of the neptune high yearbook, fittingly voted most likely to become famous. a young filmmaker is about to become responsible for one of the most chilling videos you will ever see. >> when you saw the video -- >> mm-hmm. >> what was your reaction? >> first thing i thought was how michael stern is going to feel about this when he finds out exactly how his daughter died. >> i've been describing it as pure evil. ♪ i went from phoenix arizona all the way to takoma, philadelphia atlanta, l.a. ♪ th'e of our economy. and in these challenging times,
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this is the last place your daughter was known to be. >> there's this 19-year-old girl who has gone off the grid, and no one knows why. >> she either might have committed suicide or run away and stage a suicide. >> we have boat, we have helicopters. dude, if you know anything where this girl is you have to let us know. >> i'm one of her closest friends and i have no idea. >> she discovered a shoe box full of cash. >> she in, a way, sealed her fate with this money. >> the worse thing is i thought i was walking out with 50 grand, 100 grand in my pocket.
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>> that to me is not liam. >> he was doing an audition. >> what are going to live some boring ass life? it's almost two months since sarah's gone missing. her car has been found, but no other real sign of her and no concrete leads. >> can you describe for me, as a father, what it was like during those two months, the not knowing? >> it's horrible. it's a sense of hopelessness when you don't -- you have no idea. sarah's my only child, and it's a hard feeling that we couldn't find her. >> michael stern was trying to find his daughter. he was very persistent. michael stern was not sitting by without checking in with law
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enforcement and demanding to know what we were doing. >> it's breaking my heart not to know where she's at. >> police have hit a wall. until they get a phone call from a former classmate, someone who went to high school with sarah stern, and he has quite the information to share. >> anthony curry is an aspiring film director. and he went to high school with liam and sarah. >> tell me when you first became friends with liam. >> we didn't get real close until like junior year of high school. he liked "the sopranos." we played music together. >> why did you go to police? >> just doing the right thing. >> anthony told us that he had wanted to talk to us about the information that he had. anthony had told us that on thanksgiving evening, which was november 24th, that he had went to liam's house in neptune city
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and that while there, liam had informed him what he planned to do to sarah stern. >> he tells you it's an idea for a movie. >> a plot for a movie, yeah. i make movies. i'm a filmmaker. he used to tell me ideas all the time about films i should make and all that stuff. he told me about this idea he had to kill this girl. he was going to, like, strangle her, throw her over the bridge with his friend. >> did he seem excited about this idea? >> yeah, he was like hyped. he was an energetic kid. i was, like, he's a little nuts. i don't know i just thought it was like a movie. >> what are the chances that mcatasney would float this story earlier and then sarah stern would end up being murdered in precisely the same terms? >> so, anthony doesn'teay give it another thought until it comes up on social media or the
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news that she's missing. >> if anyone has any information on the whereabouts of 19-year-old sarah stern of neptune, please give the police a call. >> in january 2017 he had started receiving snapchat messages from liam mcatasney. >> how often was he trying to contact you when sarah went missing? >> almost every day. >> what was he texting you, what was he saying to you? >> that he wanted to see me. that it was like, urgent. >> we saw anthony curry's demeanor with the way he was providing us the information. we saw the concern that he had. he was scared. he was scared. >> did you feel like your life was in danger at all? >> if somebody is capable of doing, that he could, like, try to hurt my family or somebody i knew. >> so police hatch a plan to catch liam mcatasney, and they cast anthony curry in the starring role. >> detectives equip his car with a video recording device, and this is going to be their sting operation.
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>> for anthony curry, this is a risky move. he is making up a story about why he needs to meet with liam. everyone's got to be nervous about this meeting. >> the person's car you wired usually has to drive a distance. ♪ keep on rocking me baby >> they'll sing. they'll hum. they'll turn on the radio. ♪ phoenix, arizona, all the way to tacoma, philadelphia, atlanta, l.a. ♪ >> they're nervous. i mean this is a big deal. they're actually going to try to get a person to talk about a murder they committed. >> liam had traveled in his own car. parked his vehicle in a parking space several down from anthony and had gotten into anthony's car. >> what's up, man? >> how you doing? >> we were listening live through electronic equipment. >> you want a cigarette?
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>> no, i'm good. i quit that [ bleep ] >> were they telling you what to say? >> they did say you know you gotta act sort of like donnie brasco. you gotta ask him questions. >> as soon as he got there -- >> he felt me down for a wire. >> dude, you can't blame me for doing this right? i got to feel you up bro, real quick. no disrespect. >> what were you thinking then when he did that? >> [ bleep ] real. >> and he just spills his guts. >> mm-hmm. i didn't really have to do much work. like, he wanted to tell me. i think he wanted to get it off his chest. >> yeah, i got the fbi on my -- >> about what? >> about killing sarah. they've been -- they were up my ass. first it was just normal police, they were on my ass. and i had to go in and get interrogated by them multiple times, but then it kept moving up levels. and now it's a federal case. that's not even the worst part. the worst part of it is, i thought i was walking out 50
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grand, 100 grand in my pocket. she had one safe and she took the money out, and she only had ten grand. and this money -- i don't know if it was burnt or something. it's [ bleep ] old money. terrible quality. i don't even know if i can put any of it in the [ bleep ] bank. >> so, what, do you have it hidden? >> yeah. >> where do you have it? >> sandy hook. at first it was in my house for a long time, but then i stopped trusting preston. he threw her off the bridge. >> not only does he implicate himself in this, but he mentions somebody else who helps him dispose of the body. police didn't know about that. they didn't even suspect that. >> she goes to walk out the front door. i choke her out. drag her. my biggest problem was the dog. and her dog laid there and watched as i killed her. didn't do anything. her [ bleep ] dog.
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>> i'll never forget the way that he talks about how her dog just laid there as i killed her. that was, to me, the most disturbing thing i'd ever heard in my life. >> i picked her up and had her just like dangling off the ground and she just -- herself and said my name, and that was it. and it took me a half an hour to kill her. i thought i was gonna be able to choke her out and have her out in like a couple minutes. >> it's heartbreaking in a sense, you know, somebody who's your good friend, you don't think they would do something like that to an innocent person. disappointment -- it's disappointing. >> i got a shirt and i just shoved it down her throat so she wouldn't throw up or anything and held my finger over her nose and set a timer. >> it was nauseating. how anyone could talk the way liam spoke about sarah and
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sarah's death was very disturbing. >> you are the only person on this planet that knows, besides preston. and preston doesn't know that you know. >> i'm not no [ bleep ] rat, bro. >> it could be anyone. and i don' t want preston to -- to think that he has to kill you and take you out because you are the only person that knows. >> [ bleep ] movie, man. >> yeah. and i didn't get a lot of money, but i had enough money to just be, like, living comfortably in my house throwing parties all the time. >> the most egregious thing that i heard was how liam said he didn't feel any different after doing this. >> what, you're gonna live some boring [ bleep ] life? >> what were you thinking? >> he did a terrible thing. that's really all there is to it. he did a terrible thing. >> when you saw the video, what was your reaction? >> my head hung. i have children.
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first thing i thought is how michael stern is going to feel about this when he finds out exactly how his daughter died. the second thing i thought, being a career prosecutor, is this is great evidence. >> it was good talking to you, bro. >> good talking to you. >> take it easy, bro. safe travels, all right? >> you too. >> you got everything? >> yeah. >> all right. peace out. and now is no different. we're offering payment options for current owners and our service departments are here to help. and for future owners, we're offering no payments for 90 days on 14 models. this is help when you need it. (lisa) wand we know you needgoing on, byour refund more than ever.
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detectives in monmouth county, new jersey, have just recorded what they say is an undeniable confession to murder. >> how you doing?
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>> you want a cigarette? >> no, dude, i quit those things. >> after the consensual recording conclude, we listened to the recording that night. >> i choked her out. she was just laying there having a seizure or something. >> he literally gives a blow by blow of how he killed her, where he killed her, how long it took him to kill her. >> it took me a half hour to kill her. >> how they moved the body, where they hid the money. >> it was in my house for a long time, but then i stopped trusting preston. >> he also mentions his roommate and his partner in crime, preston taylor. >> and then i had to go straight to work, so preston came over, took the body, put it in the bushes. >> we made a decision to locate preston first. we had learned that preston would be traveling to brookdale community college in linkroft. we had conducted a motor vehicle stop of his vehicle. once we stopped his car we transported him to the mammoth county prosecutor's office. >> we know what happened to sarah.
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we know what your involvement in it was. we want to know why liam did what he did. >> what did he do? >> he killed sarah. okay. you know that. correct? >> yes. >> i don't know if i've ever seen anyone confess that quickly. that's really the reality of what happened with preston taylor. and then he just goes on for, you know, 52 pages or something in a transcript of describing everything that they did. >> i got home just as he was getting ready to run out the door for work and he was like, "dude, i did it." >> what did you take that to me? >> i took it as he killed sarah. >> okay. >> said her body was still at the house and we had to get id rid of it tonight. >> preston takes police back to what he says is the scene of the crime, sarah stern's house, and he reenacts what he says he and liam did that night. >> we're here for the purpose of
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doing a walk through of sarah stern's residence, is that correct? >> correct. >> it's powerful. he was willing to go back there, to this place where he had done some pretty awful things and show the detectives how they did this and how they did that. >> this door was closed. this one i couldn't get open, but i was able to push this one open, enter, and sarah was slumped in this corner right here. she was -- sitting like this, tucked into the corner and leaning over the toilet. >> so, liam has preston go back to sarah's house and move sarah out of the house to the bushes. >> will you just show us how you were positioned when you were taking her out? >> she would have been facing away, and i had my arms under
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her shoulders like this. >> so were her feet dragging on the >> yeah. then i carried her. over here and kind of sat her under the bushes right here. >> it's interesting because he's basically like a flat line. it comes across as very matter of fact and cold, as to exactly what they're doing which is a very, very gruesome crime. >> now why did liam come back here with you? what was your purpose in being here? >> to move sarah's body too. liam went inside the house to get the safe. and he gave me the safe. and i put the safe back over by where we jumped the fence. >> they drag sarah's body out from under the bushes, drag her to a fence. >> it almost brings you back to that point, where you can see him dragging her, and they just toss her over like nothing. >> hoisted her up and over,
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threw the safe over, the two of us jumped over, and i got in my vehicle and liam got in sarah's vehicle. >> he only took responsibility for assisting with disposing of sarah's body over the bridge, but he was very cooperative in the fact that he had taken us to multiple locations where the safes were buried. >> where is that safe now? >> buried in the shark river park. >> did you bury it or did liam? >> liam did. >> liam did. with the money? >> no. >> where's the money? >> the money's in another safe. >> preston had viewed some maps and was able to identify general areas where these safes were buried. >> detective weisbrot called me and said, hey, you wouldn't believe this, but we got some new information on the sarah stern case. this is what's going on. this is where you need to go. we ended up caravanning to sandy hook. >> once we had traveled to sandy hook, he had directed us to the
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lighthouse and the location where the safe was buried was just east of the lighthouse. >> the area that that safe was buried, it was pretty nondescript. it was all overgrown. so as we were going down we'd stop, photographed some more video. >> preston was handcuffed and shackled. he was directing the forensic detectives as to where the safe was buried. >> just a little bit to the left of where we were digging, and there's the corner of the safe just sticking out of the ground. >> so detectives find buried in the dirt a small gray century safe with the number 002 stamped on it, and just a short time later, another set of police officers make the arrest of liam mcatasney and they search his car. >> and on his key chain, he had a sentry safe key and on the backside of it it had 002. >> the fact that liam had the safe key for the safe that was
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buried with sarah's money at sandy hook is an amazing piece of evidence. and lo and behold, he used one of them to open the safe. >> what did you find inside that safe? >> $9,350.00. in cash -- 100s, 50s and 20s. >> police now have enough evidence to charge liam with murder. >> i'm just going to go over a couple of things with you. you know you're under arrest, right, liam? >> liam is arrested while we are with preston. we had went in and made an effort to speak to him we had asked him if was retained by an attorney and he had indicated that he was as a result of that we did not interview liam at that point. >> i think i'd rather not speak to anyone until i talk to him. >> okay. great. thank you very much. >> walked in and the detectives, they were there. they said just sit down we want to tell you something. >> this was someone who said he loved sarah, was in your home. >> that was not liam, to me, describing an actual murder. >> i had planned sarah's situation for me to be interrogated by cops. >> that was an act. >> what are they watching if not a confession?
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>> he was making things up. trying to impress the horror film director. >> this is like a [ bleep ] movie, bro. it ain't breakfast. show me the good stuff! hello, tasty thing! it's time to get more out of breakfast. pick 2 mcdonald's morning faves right now for just 4 bucks at breakfast time. wake up breakfast amake it feelh impossible to breathe. get relief behind the counter with claritin-d. claritin-d improves nasal airflow
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it's now exactly two months to the day since police found sarah stern's abandoned car up on that bridge. she seemingly had vanished without a trace. >> this girl that we thought had killed herself, all of a sudden there was a major break in the case. two people have been arrested for the murder of sarah stern. >> and they are not just two random people. they are two people who grew up with her and knew her well, liam mcatasney and preston taylor. they were childhood friends. >> i came home from work, and i started making dinner. and i noticed there was a bright light coming from my backyard, and i looked at the back window and i thought liam and his
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friends were shooting a movie or a video and i decided to go back there and say hi to everybody. >> and then a detective yelled at me to stand back, and at that point i realized that people were going through my son's trash. they had gloves on. they were raiding my son's home. i asked where my son was, and i was told, "ma'am, you have to get back." >> it was a two-bedroom, one bath, small house. they had a living room, kitchen, dining room, all one area. liam's bedroom was pretty neat and orderly, preston's on the other hand was not. there was nothing of any significance found. typical teenager. a lot of booze around and things like that. >> so while all of this is going on, liam's mom, megan, has no idea where her son is, she hasn't been in communication with him, she can't talk to him, and she's not getting any answers from police. >> it was 2:30, 3:00 a.m. that i got the call and was told what liam was being charged with,
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and my head was just spinning, because i didn't understand what was happening. >> i grew up at the beach, and when somebody goes in the water they wash up somewhere. sarah had not washed up onto any of our shores, it gave us hope that sarah had maybe run away. and so, in my head i was thinking that sarah needed to get away and for some reason she felt she couldn't tell any of us, and that's why she was moving all of her belongings into different people that she trusts' homes. and that's why she had gone to the bank. and all of these things were making sense, and for whatever reason she felt she couldn't tell us. and that's what i had been thinking up until that moment. so i didn't understand why -- why my son was being charged. >> i got a call. i wasn't home and they said well we'd like to talk to you at the house. the detectives, the police department, they were there and they said just sit down. we want to tell you something.
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>> that was not the news you wanted to hear. >> no. and that was after the taped confession that they had. and i actually didn't hear that. they just told me what was on there, and they said you don't want to hear the details. >> even though prosecutors have this so-called confession tape by liam mcatasney, they still want that ace in the hole. >> i wanted to be able to put on the only other person that saw her dead body prior to putting her in the water. i just thought that was important. >> so preston taylor takes police on another field trip. this time to the route 35 bridge. it's the last known place sarah stern's body ever was. >> now i'm pulling my vehicle off to the shoulder of the roadway. is this the area where the car was parked? >> no, a little further up. >> we wanted to bring preston to the bridge so he could identify
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the exact location where they threw her over the bridge. we had put a life jacket on preston taylor. we wanted to ensure that we took all necessary safety precautions in the event that something were to happen on the bridge. >>g throw the body over himself and then run across and jump over the median and get in the passenger seat of my car. but he wasn't strong enough to pull sarah up and over himself. so he radioed me on the walkie-talkie and told me to loop around and to come help him get her over. >> liam had her by the shoulders and hoisted her up onto the railing. then i pushed her feet over so that she was going over the rest of the way. we heard a loud metallic bang, and that was all. >> so they decide to make a deal with preston taylor to turn his
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testimony against liam. >> preston taylor agreed to cooperate with the state. >> he pled guilty to disposing of her remains. preston wishes he had acted differently, preston has cried with me. preston has now tried what he could to try to atone for himself. he knows that whatever he does, he can't bring her back. >> preston, i always thought of him as a story teller. i nevada thought him to be credible, so to see him confessing towards liam, i just didn't -- i didn't believe it. none of it made sense to me. >> i don't have nice to say about preston. >> we sat down and spoke with liam's mom about the case and about watching that chilling video tape, that so-called confession that her son made. >> and it took me a half an hour to kill her. i thought i was gonna be able to choke her out and have her out in like a couple minutes. >> liam doesn't speak about things lightheartedly.
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that was not liam, to me, describing an actual murder. that's not the tone liam uses when he speaks about something serious. that was an act. >> he was doing an audition. he was making things up, trying to impress that horror film director. >> they were making movies together. liam was writing scripts for him. liam was gonna star in some of anthony's movies. >> that wasn't no movie audition. that's real life. trust me i've worked in film for years. i know the difference between reality and fiction. that's reality. >> what did you make of the defense's assertion that liam was auditioning, he was acting and not confessing on that tape? >> i don't even know how -- unless you go into total fiction. that's all that was. i don't know what he was auditioning for. the only movie being made was that videotape describing that horrible murder. >> does liam deny having that conversation with him earlier,
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around the thanksgiving time? >> he absolutely denies that. i think that anthony curry -- he's pointing the finger at my client and trying to make stories up so that he can better his career, because it's not that great. >> did liam mcatasney, your client, kill sarah stern and throw her body over the route 35 bridge? >> no. and i can say that because i -- just based on the evidence that we have. he's maintained his innocence from the beginning. >> this has seriously affected our entire family, and poor mike stern doesn't know where his daughter is. i mean, everybody is affected by this. this is a horrible, horrible, horrible situation. and we still can't find sarah. we don't know where sarah is. we just stopped looking. >> i'm here because i want
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justice for liam and i want justice for sarah stern. there's not enough pieces to put together to make heads or tails of anything, and the fact that sarah just disappeared and no body's been recovered or anything, it's just -- it's -- it's terrifying. >> in every bone of my body i do not believe that liam is capable of killing sarah stern, who he loved and adored. i do not believe liam is capable of killing anybody. >> but what really matters is what those 12 jurors who are about to hear the entire case -- what will they believe? >> this is the trial of the the state of new jersey versus liam mcatansey. or don't and prepare to lose some furniture got it! step up with boost mobile and get 4 lines for $25 per line per month or don't and remodel the living room
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ladies and gentlemen, sarah stern will not be walking through those doors at any point into this courtroom. her friends and family will never get to enjoy her company, her smile, her laugh. it's not because she disappeared to canada. it's because this defendant murdered her. >> you are going to hear that sarah stern wanted to leave new jersey. she wanted to get away. not only from her dad, but the entire state. >> so, the prosecution comes out swinging. their first witness with preston taylor.
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>> it was the money that someone would kill for. >> do you guys ever talk about specific plans with this money? >> yes. >> he ultimately admitted to having a large role in all of this. >> it started as plans to burglarize her house or rob her personally. over time the conversations progressed to -- to killing her in order to obtain the money. >> you were part of these conversations, correct? >> yes. >> specifically, it was decided that liam would strangle her. >> and is that the person that you and mr. mcatasney threw off the bridge that night? >> it is. >> the key for prosecutors here was ruling out two other possibilities -- that she fled to canada or that she committed suicide. and they called witnesses to try to prove that she wasn't suicidal and she wasn't going to
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canada. >> i told her she couldn't run off without a plan. she needed to save some money. >> did you have any reason to believe that she was sad or depressed? >> absolutely not. >> there was a real heartfelt moment at court when the bank manager took the stand and talked about his last exchange with sarah stern on the day she went missing, and it was an emotional moment that everyone in the courtroom felt. >> do you remember seeing sarah on that day? >> i do. i blew her a kiss, waved goodbye. >> and what did you say to her? >> i said "i love you," because she -- we had that friendship. >> testimony resumed this morning in the sarah stern murder trial. stern's father testified about her sudden disappearance. her remains have never been found. >> at some point on
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december 2nd, do you receive a phone call from somebody in new jersey? >> yeah, i got a call from my mother, who said she hadn't been able to get in touch with sarah for the whole day. >> so what do you do? >> i sent her a text. sent another text, "hello?" i sent another text that says, "sarah, what's going on?" >> what was it like being up on the stand? >> it was a little nerve wracking, but i had to be there. >> you took the stand, and you could look right at liam from where you were testifying. did you look him in the eye? >> i tried. he wouldn't look at me. i looked at him and he just stared away. sociopath? obviously. evil? definitely. >> part of the evidence that was presented at trial were text messages michael stern was sharing when he first realized his daughter went missing, and you could see the panic he was experiencing during those moments. >> and then i sent another one right after that that says, "call me as soon as you get this message", in caps. >> are you starting to get nervous? >> yes.
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>> all right, on december 3rd at 12:30, do you text her again? >> i sent another message that said, "call me", with a couple exclamation points. >> did she answer? >> no. >> when you interview people, one of the important things to understand is, do they have agendas in telling you a particular bent to a story? >> i've been friends with her since first grade, so we have a pretty good friendship. >> he wanted to picture sarah as having this abusive, relationship with her father. i know she definitely has a lot of trust issues with her dad. >> and then if you look at the text messages the police found, her relationship with her father was nothing like liam had painted it. >> "hey, dad, good afternoon. what day are you coming back from florida?" then there's a waving hand, sun glasses on a smiley face, a palm tree, and a little red car. >> i sent her a picture of a rainbow that had just appeared right around that time.
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>> do you send her a second picture? >> it's a picture of the castle in the magic kingdom at night. >> what does she say? >> "wow" with an exclamation point. "the castle looks so pretty with the lights." and there's a star and a shooting star emoji after that. >> is that the last time you've ever had contact with your daughter? >> yes. >> i think being able to present their relationship was also very, very important because it takes away from that notion that this little girl would disappear because her father was so horrific she had no other choice. >> the defense's strongest argument is that some of the details don't match with some of the evidence. >> there was no blood recovered from the interior of that house, correct? >> no, sir. >> there was no urine recovered from the interior of the house? >> no. >> it's a very typical defense argument, which is not
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everything fits. the problem for the defense is, that if you look at it in its whole, together, it all does kind of fit. >> the biggest hurdle for the prosecution to overcome? there's no body. and then in the 11th hour, the defense calls an eyewitness. >> there was a picture of a girl. i said to my son, that's who we saw. >> his testimony could turn this case upside down. [sfx: ding] ♪ ♪ i don't know about you ♪ ♪ but i got to get it out ♪ i don't know how soon ♪ [sfx: chime] how much? cinco pesos vale. oh ok, thanks. [sfx: ding] ♪ but if we die, ♪ i want to bring the whole thing too ♪ ♪ ooooooh ♪ just another world that i gotta ♪ ♪ get a grip of and hold onto ♪ [sfx: chime] thanks. ♪ ooooooh [sfx: chime] [sfx: ding]
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michael, i'm so sorry sarah is still missing. i wish, i wish, i wish every day -- every day, that we could find her. i can't imagine being in court and not knowing where my child
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is. >> testimony resumed this morning in the sarah stern murder trial. >> do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? >> yes. >> why are you here? >> doing the right thing. >> anthony curry seemed like a reluctant but incredibly important witness. >> anthony curry says that he goes to liam mcatasney's house at approximately 11:00 on thanksgiving night, and all of a sudden liam turns to him and says "hey, i've got a great idea." >> he told me he was going to meet up with sarah. she found this money, and they were going to count it together. he was gonna choke her, choke her out, bring her to the bridge, throw her off, and preston was going to drive the escape vehicle. they were going to bury the money. and leave the keys in the ignition to make it look like she killed herself. he said it would be a great idea for a movie. >> did you think he was serious?
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>> no. >> he is this sort of artsy guy who didn't have any real interest in implicating his friend. but when he sees what's happening, decides to do the right thing. >> now, when you meet with police what did you specifically agree to do? record in the car. >> at this time the court would like to play tape two. >> the worst part is we threw her body off the bridge and the body never showed up. >> i want to ask you -- because this isn't just a stranger. this was someone who said he loved sarah, was a part of her life, was someone you trusted. how do you reconcile the liam you thought you knew with the person who was sitting in that courtroom? >> there's nothing i can say that would make me feel good about knowing what happened and that he did it. and his callous and cavalier attitude of how he described to
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his friend, anthony curry, what happened, i can't imagine that happening to anybody. she called out his name, because i guess she didn't know what was going on. he just choked the life out of her. >> having liam talk about this to anthony curry and presenting that to the jury is about as incriminating a piece of evidence as you can have. there's a reason that sarah stern's father breaks down in court when the video is played. >> i spent five years in sex crimes, so i had horrific cases. i have never, ever seen a piece of evidence or heard an individual be so dismissive of another human being's life that -- it was overwhelming. >> do you think it was brave what anthony curry did? >> i think so. it was a tough decision for him. he didn't have to come forward. changed his life, too. had he not come forward, we probably never would have got an answer.
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>> people are like, do you think he's a hero? absolutely he is because he put himself in a situation where liam had shown up with a gun, even where detectives were across the street, it would not have been able to save him. and he appreciated that and still did the right thing. >> in the 11th hour the defense calls an eyewitness and his testimony could turn this case upside down. >> defense calls craig hetzel senior. >> a local contractor, craig hetzel says as he was driving his son to work in the wee hours of the morning, he says he saw sarah stern, and he says he's 100% sure. >> if craig hetzel's right, that he saw sarah 12 hours after the time she was supposedly killed, that's an incredibly powerful piece of evidence for the defense. >> there was a girl walking down the street. i said to my son, i said, "that is an awfully good looking girl
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to be walking on the street at 5:00 in the morning." i got a good look, right in her face, stared right into her eyes the way i'm looking at you right now, and she turned her head that way and ducked down an alleyway. couple days later there was a picture of a girl. i said to my son, "that's who we saw. that's who i saw that day." >> how sure are you that that is the same person? >> in my mind, no doubt. >> the problem is the details of his story start to change. first he says he saw sarah stern friday morning, and then it's saturday morning. >> there was definitely something to be skeptical about. >> i don't even know if it's worth speculating on why. it just -- to me factually, it was inaccurate. >> the monmouth county prosecutor's office investigated this case, and they did not find any signs of a struggle inside
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that residence that would corroborate what he's saying, what he's making up. or" it's a movie" makes no sense. this was the ultimate cheap shot. sarah had plans. she wasn't killing herself. she wasn't going off the grid to canada. this is a textbook felony murder, armed robbery. their intention was to rob her, but they knew that in order to rob her, they were prepared to kill her. she's lying there having a seizure. he puts his finger over her nose and he ends her life. that, ladies and gentlemen, is murder. >> it's now been six weeks. closing arguments are in.
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art, to fun, to her friends and family. she had a real talent for creating art. it was her calling. it was her gift. she would call it practicing reckless optimism. >> she did these beautiful drawings that she would gift to people, and then she would light up from their reactions to her artwork. >> talking with michael stern she was so real to him and her artwork is still there, and through her artwork, sarah lives on with michael. >> so this is just coming, in an email from the courthouse, and liam mcatasney has been convicted of murder. >> we begin with breaking news. a guilty verdict in the sarah stern murder trial. liam mcatasney now facing life in prison. >> how do you find as to count one of the indictment whether liam mcaca
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committed the crime of murder by purposely or knowing causing the death of sarah stern? >> guilty. >> i remember sitting there and i just kept hearing guilty, guilty, guilty and then you're like great he won't be out in the world to harm any other people, but you're like, sarah's still gone. she's never gonna come back. >> today, the family has finally gotten justice. >> 21-year-old liam mcatasneycay will spend the rest of his life behind bars. >> life without the possibility of parole. >> he said nothing but was openly sobbing in court. >> his tears are fake. >> accomplice preston taylor given 18 years for helping him dispose of sarah's body. >> this is the last chapter in the bock of how -- a killer liam mcatasney is.
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>> what would you say to liam? >> you're an evil killer. you shopt exist on this earth. it place in my head over and over. how many times can you watch your daughter die? >> i know you visit the bridge. you have a memorial there for sarah. >> it's my daughter. smart kid, good kid. >> how do you want the world to remember sarah stern? as an artist, as a friend that was just a good person. just a wonderful, wonderful child. braus bracing for the
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