Police & Fire

Belmar Route 35 Bridge Closed Briefly for ‘Active Police Investigation’

BELMAR, NJ — The Route 35 bridge over the Shark River was closed for about one-half hour on Friday afternoon for what the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office called an “active police investigation.”

Their activity was at the same location that authorities claim the body of Sarah Stern, the 19-year-old who went missing from her Neptune City home on December 2, was allegedly discarded, but has not yet been recovered. It came three days after Preston Taylor, one of the suspects charged in connection with her death, was denied a request to be freed from jail while his case is pending.

During the bridge’s closure, which shut down all four lanes from about 3:50 to 4:11 p.m., a boat from New Jersey State Police Marine Bureau was seen in the waters below, as investigators watched from the bridge above — not far from where the makeshift memorial of flowers for Stern has stood for nearly five months on the southbound side.

Sign Up for E-News

Following the police activity, Charles Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, said in a statement that no further information would be released and there was no need for any alarm. It was neither confirmed nor denied whether the search was connected with the Stern case.

Since Stern was reported missing on December 2 and her car found early the next morning abandoned on the Shark River bridge, it has been the site for police searches before and after the February 2 arrest of Taylor and Liam McAtasney. Both 19-year-old Neptune City residents have been charged in the death of their longtime friend.

McAtasney is accused of allegedly strangling Stern in her home and stealing $7,000. Taylor is charged with later helping McAtasney move and ultimately dispose of Stern’s body in order to avoid detection. The body was allegedly discarded off the Route 35 bridge, which connects Belmar and Neptune City and is located about one mile from Stern’s home.

On Tuesday, April 18, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division denied Taylor’s request to overturn a Monmouth County Superior Court decision to keep him in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Freehold, while county prosecutors continue to prepare their case against him and McAtasney. 

The case has been assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, director of the office’s Major Crimes Bureau, and Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Doyle.

McAtasney is charged with first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree desecration of human remains, second-degree conspiracy (to desecrate human remains) and second-degree hindering apprehension.

Taylor is charged with second-degree desecration of human remains, second-degree conspiracy (to desecrate human remains) and second-degree hindering apprehension in connection with the Stern murder, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Anyone who wants to remain anonymous, but has information about this crime or any crime can contact the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400. The information can also be text at “MONMOUTH” to 274637 or by email through the website: www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Belmar/Lake Como

Washington Crossing State Park Brings on Spring with Maple Sugaring Demonstrations

February 19, 2018

TITUSVILLE, NJ — The art of maple sugaring, known as a harbinger of spring, is featured in a series of educational programs to be held through early March at Washington Crossing State Park.

"Maple sugaring is a hands-on activity that serves as an excellent vehicle for teaching many important natural resource concepts," said Mark Texel, director of the N.J. Department of ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, February 20, 6:00 PM

Belmar Municipal Building, Belmar

Belmar Mayor and Council Meeting


Tue, February 20, 7:30 PM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Council Meeting


Wed, February 21, 9:30 AM

Lake Como Borough Hall, Lake Como

Lake Como Mommy and Me Play Date


Thu, February 22, 7:00 PM


Belmar Zoning Board of Adjustment


Fri, February 23, 10:00 AM

Belmar Community Center, Belmar

Coffee with Belmar Public Works Department


Sat, February 24, 6:00 PM

Taylor Pavilion, Belmar

For the Love of Thy Neighbor Gala by the Sea


Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, Belmar

St. Patrick's Day Parade Fundraiser

JCP&L Offers Customers Assistance with Winter Heating Bills

February 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ — As the cold weather continues, financial assistance programs are available for Jersey Central Power & Light customers who need help with winter heating bills.

Assistance to qualifying JCP&L customers is available through the Lifeline, Universal Service Fund, Weatherization, Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) and New Jersey SHARES ...

TAPinto.net Named Partner of the Year by NJ News Commons

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ —  TAPinto.net has been named Partner of the Year by NJ News Commons, a network of more than 230 news organizations across New Jersey. The award goes to a journalist or news organization that showed overall excellence in its work for 2017.    

Joe Amditis, associate director of the Center for Cooperative Media, said TAPinto won the award ...

Monmouth County Jail Inmates Earn GEDs through Innovative Online Program

February 11, 2018

FREEHOLD, NJ — It recently was graduation day for four inmates at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution.

After completing a state-of-the-art online program offered by the Monmouth-Ocean Educational Services Commission, they earned their high school equivalency diplomas (GEDs) — an achievement recognized by the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Correctional ...

Daddy/Daughter Sweetheart Dance: A Great Success Thanks to All Involved

February 7, 2018

To the Editor:

The Belmar PTO would like to thank several local businesses and community organizations for supporting our Annual Daddy/Daughter Sweetheart Dance on Friday, January 19 at Taylor Pavilion in Belmar.

The dance was a fun-filled evening for almost 60 young girls, prekindergarten to eighth grade, and the special men in their lives. Statistics show that a positive father-daughter ...

Belmar and Lake Como

February 7, 2018

Belmar Police Department reported the following arrests occurred in Belmar and Lake Como from January 1, 2018 to January 31, 2018.


Nora Campbell, 35, of Eatontown was charged with disorderly conduct after her January 9 arrest on 10th Avenue by Police Officer Anthony Steneck.

David Lukens, 46, of Belmar was charged with disorderly conduct after his January 14 arrest on 16th Avenue ...