Missing NJ College Student’s Death Ruled a Homicide

Angela Bronner Helm
Sarah Butler
WABC-TV screenshot

The death of a 20-year-old Montclair, N.J., college student whose parents reported her missing days before Thanksgiving has been ruled a homicide, according to NJ.com.

Family members reported Butler, a freshman at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, N.J., missing Nov. 23. She was last seen the night before, and the car she was driving, a 2007 Dodge Caravan, was discovered abandoned in Orange, N.J.


Police found Sarah Butler’s remains in the Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, N.J., on Thursday, more than a week after she disappeared and before a scheduled family trip to Jamaica.

Butler was remembered as a volleyball player and accomplished trained dancer. She lived with her parents and two sisters.

“Not my Sarah, not my Sarah,“ said her mother, LaVern Butler, to WABC-TV. “It was senseless; I just … whoever did this is a dog.”

“Somebody to do what they did to my baby girl, I just feel I couldn't help her. I wasn't there; that's the hardest part, you know,” said Victor Butler, Sarah’s father.


Sarah was also a lifeguard at the local YMCA.

“As a 20-year-old college student, she had a bright and promising future ahead of her,” said Jo Ann Short, president and CEO of the Montclair YMCA. “The mystery behind her disappearance and ultimate loss of life is unsettling.”


Authorities would not say where Butler was found in the 400-acre park and did not reveal her exact cause of death.

They have offered $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the killing.


Read more at NJ.com and WABC-TV.

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