NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating the beating death of a college student in New Jersey.
The body of William McCaw, a 22-year-old Kean University student, was found just before 10:30 a.m. Saturday in a backyard on Hartwell Street near Rutgers University.
A Rutgers senior who lives in the house said he and his six roommates had no connection to McCaw.
“It’s obviously scary it would happen so close to the house I’m living in,” the student, who doesn’t want to be identified, told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “Very often there are kids who just pass by the backyard because the gate is broken down, so kids just pass by to get to the other street more quickly. So it’s likely he was a passerby.”
McCaw had previously attended Rutgers University, but transferred last semester to Kean University. He was back near the Rutgers campus visiting his old fraternity brothers when somehow he ran into trouble, Jiang reported.
His death left the community stunned.
“I did not believe that for a second, there’s no way, this is literally across the street from where we live, I was pretty shocked about that,” one student said.
“Just to think someone could do that so close to the university that makes it even more shocking,” said Rutgers senior Liz Mills.
The area is mostly off-campus housing for Rutgers University students who said the neighborhood is known for its partying, Jiang reported.
“During the weekends, people get really rowdy here. It could happen to anyone cause I’ve seen a lot of fights happen on the street. A couple of months ago there was a stabbing in front of our house,” said Rutgers senior Kyle Robinson.
Friends said McCaw was friendly and warm and can’t imagine who would do this to him.
The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity posted a heartfelt goodbye on it’s Facebook page, reading in part, “Billy will be remembered as a genuine friend, and a selfless individual” and “our community will never be the same without you.”
McCaw’s family gathered at his grandparents’ home in Flemington and asked for privacy, Jiang reported.
The Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office said it’s not clear where the attack occurred.
Police went door-to-door in the neighborhood handing out photos of McCaw, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
McCaw had been at a house party which he left to attend another gathering before he was found murdered.
“We were looking out the back window and saw blood and then eventually saw the body and we were in shock,” Dan Mitchell told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.
Investigators have asked anyone with information to come forward to help them solve the mystery.
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