Fifteen-year old Sarah Smith's life was changed forever when she arrived at Oakdale. Born in Brazil and sent from foster home to foster home, Sarah eventually wound up at a children's services center in Oakdale where she'd meet a woman who would change her life--Bonnie McKechnie. Bonnie formed an immediate bond with Sarah and, against her family's advice, spoiled the girl by buying her clothes and taking her to the Country Club. Warning Bonnie that she was giving too much to this girl that she knew nothing about, Bonnie's family's fears seemed confirmed when Sarah stole a laptop from new doctor, Walker Daniels, However, Bonnie still saw the good in Sarah and refused to give up on her. Not long after, Sarah was diagnosed with a blood disease that was treatable but expensive. Wanting her to have the best possible care, Bonnie decided, despite misgivings from her mother, Jessica, and boyfriend, Isaac, that she would adopt her. Soon, after learning a little of Sarah's history, Bonnie realized something--Sarah could very well be Marshall Travers's presumed dead daughter, Zara! Marshall had rejected his pregnant girlfriend, Neia, who then moved to Brazil and had a child named Zara, Bonnie also knew that Neia died in Brazil and after an earlier search by Marshall and Jessica, Zara was declared dead as well. But could she in fact have survived?
Desperate to know the truth, Bonnie had a paternity test done with the help of Dr. Walker Daniels, and resolved that whatever the outcome, Marshall, who months earlier had raped Jessica, would never know the truth. Afraid of Marshall learning the truth, Bonnie attempted to flee to Europe with Sarah but was stopped by Marshall who figured out who Sarah was! Immediately, Marshall, who at the beginning tended to call Sarah "Zara", a name she didn't know, took Sarah into his custody. However, Bonnie continued to focus all her thoughts on Sarah, despite Jessica's warnings that she should stay away or risk getting Marshall angry. Because unknown to Sarah, Marshall was holding over Bonnie's head the fact that she had shot him. Though Bonnie was warned by Marshall to stay away from Sarah, Sarah herself sought out Bonnie about her troubles adjusting to her new life. Knowing that Sarah was on the verge of discovering what Marshall did to Jessica, Bonnie convinced Marshall to tell Sarah about the rape.
Unfortunately for Bonnie, instead of Sarah lashing out at Marshall, she lashed out at Bonnie for keeping the truth from her! Meanwhile, Bonnie's constant fixation on Sarah put a strain on her and Isaac's relationship, with Isaac asking Bonnie if she still wanted to marry him. When Bonnie said no, Isaac realized that their relationship was going nowhere, and he later accepted an offer from a friend of his in Florida and left Oakdale and Bonnie behind. Though sad to see Isaac go, Bonnie was much too caught up in Sarah's problems and when Marshall asked Bonnie for help with Sarah, Bonnie went against her mother's advice and agreed. Unfortunately when a concerned Jessica realized how obsessed Bonnie was getting about Sarah, she threatened to reopen the rape case against Marshall if he didn't take Sarah and leave town for good. Unfortunately, Bonnie learned what Jessica had done and raced to Marshall's to stop him from taking Sarah away. Knowing that Jessica would make good on her threat, Marshall argued with Bonnie and told her he was leaving with Sarah. Unfortunately, Bonnie struggled with Marshall and in the melee he was pushed out the window, falling to his death.
Feeling guilty, Bonnie resolved to take responsibility for her actions and pled guilty to manslaughter. Although Jessica tried to talk her out of it, Bonnie was firm and was sentenced to six months in a minimum security prison and Sarah was sent back to the children's shelter. Very soon after, Sarah was surprised when Jessica offered to take Sarah into her home as a foster child. Knowing Jessica was only offering because she felt guilty for her role in Marshall's death and Bonnie's imprisonment, Sarah resented Jess. Deeply missing Bonnie, Sarah asked Jessica to take letters to Bonnie in prison. Although Jessica tried to explain that Bonnie was forbidden any contact with Sarah, and breaking the rules could have serious consequences for both her and Bonnie, Sarah pleaded with Jessica to take the letters anyway. For several weeks, Sarah was elated that Jessica was helping her "talk" to Bonnie and she started opening herself up.
That all changed when she learned Jessica had been lying to her--she never showed Bonnie the letters at all! Hurt and angry, Sarah schemed to get back at Jessica by sneaking the letter's in Jess's bag, so Jess would be caught with them on her next visit to Bonnie. Although Sarah's friend Casey Hughes tried to warn her that she'd only hurt herself by getting Jess into trouble, she didn't care and went ahead with the plan anyway. As Casey predicted, Jessica was caught with the letters and disbarred. When confronted, Sarah finally lashed out at Jess and told her that she knew she'd been lied to and accused Jess of only being nice to her out of guilt. Although she expected to be sent back to the Children's Shelter, Sarah was shocked when instead Jessica forgave her and gave her a second chance. Not long after, Bonnie was finally released from prison and announced that she was moving to Florida and marrying Isaac. To Sarah's delight, she asked her to come with her and be part of a family.
A few years later, Bonnie returned to Oakdale, newly divorced from Isaac. It can be assumed that Isaac officially adopted Sarah since she stayed in Florida under Isaac’s care.