Missing bartender case echoes earlier disappearance

Posted: January 29, 2013

As the search continued on Tuesday for a popular New Hope bartender who went missing early Saturday morning, many local residents were reminded of a strikingly similar incident that happened in this close-knit riverside community more than a decade ago.

In 2000, local musician David Anderson went missing after spending a Friday night at John and Peter's, a New Hope bar. Anderson, according to an Inquirer article from the time, walked across the bridge into Lambertville around 3 a.m. to head back to the home he shared with his roommate Adam Baker. He never made it, and was found dead in the canal slipway the following Monday.

Over the weekend, Sarah Majoras, 39, went missing after leaving John and Peter's, where she worked as a bartender. Surveillance footage from the bridge shows her walking into Lambertville around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, authorities said. And she, too, was headed back to the home she shared with Baker, her boyfriend. She had not been found as of Tuesday afternoon.

Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns said that there was "no further evidence other than coincidence" that Baker had any involvement in either case. Kearns has said authorities do not suspect foul play in Majoras' disappearence.

Local residents who recalled both incidents said that they, too, believed Baker's connection was simply a tragic coincidence and not something untoward.

"Everybody around here knows it's not a possibility," said Joe Ujj, a community member helping to coordinate volunteer search efforts for Majoras. "I work with Adam and have known him since high school. It's not that type of thing. I don't know how else to say it."

Baker, authorities said, called people from the bar to ask why Majoras hadn't returned home Saturday morning.

And Anderson's death was believed by authorities to be an accident, according to The Inquirer's article from the time. Efforts to reach investigators from that case were unsuccessful.

For those who knew both Anderson and Majoras, like Tony Artur, 43, a Lambertville resident, the search for Majoras has carried greater emotional weight because of the memory of Anderson's death.

"There's a sense for people who've been around long enough, even if its unspoken, you can see it in people's eyes," he said. "It's like, 'Oh no, this is happening again.'"

Ujj said Baker and Majoras' mother have been staying together in private since the weekend.

"It's just too much," he said. "They don't know what to do."

For his part, Ujj was coordinating upwards of 130 volunteers to help police canvas sections of Lambertville on Tuesday. More than 150 people had turned out on Monday, he said.

He established a "Find Sarah Majoras" Facebook page on Sunday night, he said. People were also sharing information on Twitter with the hashtag #findsarah.

On Tuesday, authorities released surveillance photos taken from the bridge that they say show Majoras crossing into Lambertville. In a statement, Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns said authorities hope the photos may trigger someone's memory of seeing her that night.

He added that helicopter and ground searches of Lambertville continued, and dive teams again searched the canal.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lambertville Police Department, 609-397-3132.

Contact Chris Palmer, 609-217-8305, cpalmer@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter, @cs_palmer


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