Man charged with murder in strangulation death of New Jersey woman

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MONTCLAIR, N.J. — A man has been charged with murder in the strangulation death of a 20-year-old woman whose body was found in a New Jersey park a week after she was reported missing.

Khalil Wheeler-Weaver is charged with murder in the death of Sarah Butler. (Essex County Prosecutor’s Office)

Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, 20, of Orange, was arrested Wednesday, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office announced. He is also charged with disturbing human remains after the body was found covered with leaves and debris.

The victim, Sarah Butler of Montclair, was reported missing by her family on Nov. 23. Her body was found eight days later at the Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange.

An autopsy determined that Butler died as a result of compression of the neck and her death was ruled a homicide.

“It does appear at this juncture that Miss Butler, a student at New Jersey City University, was acquainted with the defendant and they encountered each other in Orange, New Jersey on November 22,” said Essex County Acting Prosecutor Carolyn Murray.

Prosecutors say the victim and Wheeler-Weaver were “acquainted” but didn’t say how the two knew each other, but said there’s no evidence they were dating.

“This family had to suffer through many days, at least a week, of not knowing where their child’s body was,” stated Murray.

Wheeler-Weaver is being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility and will be arraigned in Essex County Superior Court at a later date. His bail was set at $1 million.

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