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  Sara Zghoul was remembered by friends and loved ones for her love of her young child and her beauty, which led to modeling assignments.   Johnston, who lived at his mother’s house in Aloha, Oregon, about half a mile from Zghoul’s home and near where she was found dead.  


Story by Gordon Grearson - The Oregon Herald
Published on Wednesday May 26, 2021 - 7:45 AM
 
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PORTLAND, Oregon - Model Sara Zghoul was also an aspiring actress, and young mother from Oregon who was murdered. Her remains were stuffed into suitcases that were found in an abandoned BMW.

On January 25, 2018, detectives located the remains of 28-year-old Sara Zghoul in a parked car in the community of Aloha. Ms. Zghoul's death was ruled a homicide, and at the time of the investigation, some of Ms. Zghoul's remains were still unaccounted for.

Detectives identified the suspect in Ms. Zghoul's murder as 35-year-old Jeremiah Johnston of Aloha, who was arrested later that night.

In December 2019, Mr. Johnston pled guilty to first-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, and first-degree abuse of a corpse related to the murder of Ms. Zghoul. Mr. Johnston was consequently sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 65 years, at which time Mr. Johnson will be 101 years of age.

On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, detectives from the Sheriff's Office Violent Crimes Unit located Ms. Zghoul's missing remains, and the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office positively identified them as Ms. Zghoul.

Sara was remembered by friends and loved ones for her love of her young child and her beauty, which led to modeling assignments.

The lead detective on the case said, "I am happy we were able to reach a complete resolution in this case, and I hope this helps Ms. Zghoul's family obtain some closure in this tragic loss they have had to endure." Johnston lived at his mother's house in Aloha, Oregon, about half a mile from Zghoul's home, near where Sara was found dead.

Johnston has been sitting in jail, waiting for trial. Detectives said he kidnapped Zghoul, killed her, and dismembered her body then stuffed her into a suitcase in the back of a BMW. Johnson was later charged with trying to hire a hit man from jail to kill a witness who heard him talking about the crime.

According to court documents, the hit man Johnston attempted to hire was Daniel Kerbs, who became an informant. Kerbs tell investigators about the alleged "murder-for-hire" plot and where Zghoul's cell phone was. Apparently Johnston's lawyers were in possession of Sara Zghoul's cellular phone.

Detectives learned that the Johnston had disposed of the majority of Sara Zghoul's property and that after Johnson murdered Sara Zghoul, he posted a message on her Facebook account stating that Sara was on the Oregon Coast.

Lester Tsai, a photographer and friend of Zghoul's, remembers Sara Zghoul as a "bright" light in everyone's life.

"She was great, she was super nice to everybody, really caring for her friends," said Tsai. "She had two friends that had babies at the same time and she actually booked me to do their photos for them because she wanted to do something nice for them. That was just something she always seemed to be doing."

Tsai said he will be waiting and promises to keep Zghoul's memory alive.

"I feel like he deserves life in prison and possibly the death penalty because of just how disgusting and heinous what he did was," said Tsai.

One family friend said: "Sara was funny, kind and a great mother. She was the kind of person to give you the shirt off her back."

Ms. Zghoul's family has asked community members and media to respect their privacy during this difficult time.