A Sebago woman who went missing late Friday was found dead Sunday afternoon in a submerged car in the Ossipee River in Parsonsfield, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

Sarah McCarthy Photo courtesy of Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office

Sarah McCarthy, 28, had last been seen just before midnight Friday when she left Fairgrounds Pizza & Pub in Cornish, where she worked as a bartender and waitress.

Just before 1 p.m. Sunday, a passer-by spotted the vehicle submerged in the river near the intersection of Route 25 (Federal Road) and Elm Street, Capt. Don Foss of the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

The car was pulled from the river by emergency responders and the body inside was later confirmed to be that of McCarthy, Foss said.

“Evidence at the scene suggested that McCarthy was traveling westbound on Federal Road (toward New Hampshire) at a high rate of speed,” Foss said. “She failed to navigate a turn in the road and her vehicle careened off a snowbank and into the river.”

He said that “law enforcement will work with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause and manner of Sarah’s death.”

Foss said the circumstances leading to McCarthy’s death are under investigation by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the York County Sheriff’s Office.

McCarthy had telephone contact with family and friends shortly after leaving work Friday night, and “she sounded very disoriented and claimed she did not know where she was,” Foss said. She also reported being lost and cold.

She had been planning to meet a friend in Conway, New Hampshire, after finishing her shift at Fairgrounds Pizza & Pub. Attempts to reach her co-workers Sunday evening were unsuccessful, but in a post on the pub’s Facebook page early Sunday, they wrote, “We are all praying for a safe return. We (your work family) miss you terribly!” Her co-workers affectionately referred to her as Sarie in the post.

During one of her phone calls Friday night, McCarthy said she pulled over and was approached by a woman, who knocked on her window and asked if she was OK, her mother, Elizabeth McCarthy, told News Center Maine (WCSH-TV/WLBZ-TV). Elizabeth McCarthy said she is hopeful that woman will come forward with whatever information she can provide.

Concerned about her daughter’s safety, her mother called McCarthy herself and they spoke for about one minute. Elizabeth McCarthy asked her daughter to tell her where she was and said she would come get her. McCarthy said her daughter did not seem to understand what she was saying. Sarah also told her mother that she was cold.

“Something was definitely out of sorts, worse than if someone had been drinking, I would think,” Elizabeth McCarthy told News Center Maine.

“The public safety community wishes to express its condolences to Sarah’s family and friends as they deal with this tragic situation,” Foss said in the statement. He said the sheriff’s office received numerous tips from people who were concerned about McCarthy’s safety.


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