'She was absolutely wonderful': Young woman found dead along rural Oregon road

Photo of Sarah Zuber provided by loved ones.

RAINIER, Ore. – A body found Wednesday along a rural Oregon road has been identified as that of 18-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Zuber of Rainier.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office released the teen’s name in a press release Thursday and said law enforcement agencies are continuing the investigation into her death.

Zuber’s body was found shortly after noon Wednesday on the side of Neer City Road near the Nick Thomas Road intersection.

Initial reports state the deceased had no visible injuries, but authorities say they are not ruling anything out at this point.

Investigators believe an "incident" led to her death, and occurred during the late night hours of Tuesday, March 12 and the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

The sheriff's office is asking the public for help.

If anyone has information about the victim in this case or the events leading up to the victim’s death, submit an online tip, or call the non-emergency dispatch number at 503-397-1521, or on the tip line for the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team at 503-397-1167.

A close family friend and neighbor, Pam Wiechern, described Zuber as a wonderful young woman with so much to live for.

"She did not even start living her life yet," Wiechern told KATU. "She was absolutely wonderful."

Wiechern says Zuber worked at the Grocery Outlet in Rainier and was planning to attend Portland State University in the coming months.

"She was very well liked," Wiechern said. "She could’ve done anything that she wanted to, she was really smart."

Wiechern says Zuber was home-schooled and very involved in the community, competing for several years at Rainier Jr. Sr. High School and participating in the local 4-H program.

Rainier Jr. Sr. High School released this statement regarding Zuber's death:

"We are heartbroken to hear of the loss of this community member. Sarah Zuber was a local home-schooled student who participated in track and cross country athletics here at Rainier Jr. Sr. High School from middle school to 9th grade though she did not attend our schools. The school counselor and assistant principal have been meeting with individual students impacted by this loss throughout the morning. School staff were first notified of a death in the community first thing this morning and then held a stand-up meeting as soon as her name was released by the media. Columbia County Mental Health has also been present in our building to support staff and students. Rainier School District stands ready to support the Zuber family during this most difficult time."

A small memorial along Neer City Road, where Zuber was found, continued to grow Thursday evening.

"No parent should have to bury their child," Wiechern said. "She is going to be greatly missed."

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Zuber's family to help with funeral expenses.

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