Search broadens for killer of Kean University student William McCaw

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (PIX11) — Who beat a local college student so badly that his frozen body ended up in the snow blocks away from where he was last seen alive?  That’s the question investigators try to answer now, as they search for the killer.

Deceased is William McCaw, 22.  He transferred to Kean University in mid-January from Rutgers, where he’d been such a longstanding and devoted student that he’d helped to establish a new chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

Ironically, the Rutgers chapter had just gotten officially approved by the university when McCaw was killed.  His body was found after 9:00 A.M. Saturday in the backyard of a home at 28 Hartwell Street.

“We didn’t know the kid,” said a Rutgers senior, who did not want to give his name, who lives in the home behind which McCaw’s body was found.  “It’s scary, it’s frightening that something like that could happen so close,” he said.

Monday afternoon, about a half dozen detectives and beat cops combed the neighborhood three blocks west of Rutgers University, looking for clues, and seeking information.  They handed out fliers and talked with just about every person they encountered in the Hartwell Street area, most of whom were students.

However, McCaw was last seen alive at a house two-and-a-half blocks away, in the 200 block of Hamilton Street.  He had attended a party there Friday night into the early morning hours of Saturday, according to witnesses.

In fact, on the flier police were handing out in the area is a photo of McCaw actually at that party, wearing a white bandanna and a black coat, with a red t-shirt.

In photographs from Saturday morning obtained by PIX11 News, McCaw’s lifeless body was wearing that t-shirt, but no coat or bandanna.  His blood soaked the foot-deep snow in the backyard of the Hartwell Street home.  Investigators dug up that snow in search of clues.  They indicated that it appeared that McCaw had suffered blunt force trauma.

Detectives had also spent time at the Hamilton Street home over the weekend.  Fingerprint technicians had left black marks on the door that were still visible on Monday, from where they’d lifted fingerprints of residents.

Many of them are fraternity brothers of McCaw.  PIX11 News encountered some of them, but they refused to speak.  However, a friend of McCaw who lives at the house, but is not a fraternity brother, summed up the mood there.

“Shocking,” said Joe Schwab.  “It’s really unexpected.  I didn’t believe it at first.  It’s rough.  He was loved by everyone here.”

McCaw was from Gallatin, Tennessee, but had attended college in New Jersey for years.