RAINIER, Ore. — The Rainier Community is grieving the loss of 18-year-old Sarah Zuber. She was found dead along the side of the road just feet from her parent’s driveway Wednesday morning.
There is now a memorial near where she was found along Neer City Road. People continue to leave flowers, stuffed animals and candles in her memory.
Those who knew her said she had a contagious smile and bright future ahead of her.
“Sarah was just a wonderful, wonderful girl,” explained family friend and neighbor Pam Wiechern.
A wonderful girl taken too soon. If you ask anyone about Sarah Zuber, they will tell you how smart, caring, and loved she was.
“That little girl is really going to be missed because she is just awesome,” Wiechern said.
Sarah was homeschooled her entire life, but did cross country in middle school at Rainier Jr./Senior High School. She planned to start school at PSU this spring and worked at Grocery Outlet where the sign now reads "We love you Sarah."
“It's not business as usual anymore, there's some healing to be done,” said Bruce Cade who worked at Grocery Outlet with Sarah.
Cade said she always lit up the store with her smile.
“Just kind of a free-spirited gal, just always had a smile, you'd never think that there was anything wrong with her, never heard her complain about anything, just vibrant gal, had the whole world ahead of her,” Cade said.
Friends said Sarah got home from work late and went for a walk like she often did.
“Sarah was an avid walker,” Wiechern said. “She got home from work around 10:30 in the evening and she visited with her sister for a little while and then she told her, don't lock the door I'm going to go for a walk. She always did. She was very, very purposeful when she walked.”
The next morning, friends said it was one of Sarah's younger sisters that found her dead along the side of the road just feet from her home.
Her death has a left a hole in the Rainier community and cut short a future that had endless possibilities.
“She could've been anything,” Wiechern said. “She could have gone far. I mean anywhere she wants, she was smarter than a whip, seriously.”
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is still trying to figure out what happened to Sarah.
Anyone who saw anything overnight Tuesday or early Wednesday near the intersection of Neer City Road and Nick Thomas Road is asked to call the non-emergency dispatch number at 503-397-1521 or the tip line for the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team at 503-397-1167.