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AZ Insider: Beloved Phoenix Family Dies in Plane Crash

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William Stern, Jr., Jennifer and Katelyn Stern of Phoenix, killed in plane crash in San Diego.

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Loved ones are mourning the loss of the Phoenix family killed .

Loved ones and friends are mourning the shocking news  of the Phoenix family killed in a small plane crash near San Diego.  

William (Bill) Stern , Jr. 65, his wife Jennifer Stern,53, and their daughter, Kateyln Stern,19, tragically died when their single engine, 4 -seater plane crashed into a hilly terrain in Santee, California. The family who has a San Diego beach home, were on their way back to Phoenix.

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Bill Stern, was the head of the 96 year old Stern Produce Co. , a well known Phoenix based food supplier.  He was a pilot who flew routinely and had his pilot's license  for 10 years. 

Katelyn was just starting school at Southern Methodist University in Texas. Her friends gathered to release balloons into the air in her memory.A makeshift memorial was also created outside the family’s home.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the circumstances surrounding the  crash and a full report could take six months to two years.

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The Lancair IV-P c plane is considered an experimental aircraft, and was discontinued by Lancair. In 2009, the FAA warned pilots about Lancair’s so-called home-built planes.

The couple's son, William Stern III was not on the plane . He says that Stern Produce will continue to maintain its current high level of customer service, quality products and operations to its customers.

"While there are many questions left to answer regarding the accident itself, there are no questions regarding the future of our company,” said. William Stern, III who will honor his father by continuing his vision and high level of customer service. 

Kathy Shayna Shocket is a Reporter, Photographer and TV-Field Producer based in Phoenix. She can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it