August 18, 2019 | 74° F

Former Rutgers student found dead


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Photo by Dennis Zuraw |

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office identified the body of William McCaw in the backyard of a house on Hartwell Street.


Kean University student and former Rutgers student William McCaw was found dead on Saturday in a backyard on Hartwell Street, according to a press release from Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Authorities believe McCaw, 22, of Gallatin, Tenn., was fatally beaten, although results of an autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office were not immediately available.

McCaw’s body was found after an unidentified neighbor called the police at 10:26 a.m. yesterday, according to the press release. McCaw was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:45 a.m.

Authorities determined that McCaw would frequently return to New Brunswick to visit friends, yet the victim has no connection to those living in the property where his body was found.

No one has been arrested yet, and the investigation is active and continuing, according to the press release.

Antony Mason, a Hartwell Street resident, said he does not feel that his neighborhood is particularly unsafe, with the exception of occasionally rowdy Saturday nights. A mix of students and families occupies the homes on Hartwell Street.

Mason said he was working the night shift during the time of alleged crime. But when he returned from work, he noticed cars from the prosecutor’s office and the police.

“There were people digging all over in the snow,” said Mason, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior.

Josh Willner, another Hartwell Street resident, said he was shocked that Rutgers did not send out a crime alert.

Although he understands that the crime did not occur on University property and did not involve a current student, Willner, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the Rutgers community should be made aware of what occurred.

“It’s unsettling that it happened on our street,” he said. “It shakes you up a little bit.”

James Barcey, a Rutgers Business School sophomore, said he was walking down the street alone on Saturday night, but he did not see anything suspicious.

“I was pretty spooked out when I heard,” he said. “I’m not walking home by myself anymore.”

He was shocked when learning about McCaw’s death because his roommates knew McCaw and thought he seemed like a nice kid.

On the Facebook page of the Rutgers’ Pi Kappa Phi chapter, members posted a photo and a memorial letter expressing their grief. Before transferring to Kean University, McCaw was an initiate of their associate chapter.

“After his transfer, he remained an enthusiastic and loyal devotee of the Iota Tau Chapter, visiting campus often to spend time with us and show his support,” the letter said.

Anyone who has information on this investigation should call Detective Ronoldy Martinez of the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5217, extension 6028, or Investigator Michael Daniewicz of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4018.

A previous version of this article appeared online on Saturday, Feb. 15.


By Alexandra R. Meier and Erin Petenko

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