MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police have arrested a suspect in the death of a college student from Montclair.

Sarah Butler, 20, disappeared days before Thanksgiving. Her body was found a week later in a park.

Standing outside of his home, lined with candles, flowers, and a teddy bear, Victoria Butler reacted to news that police had announced the arrest of his daughter’s alleged killer.

Sarah Butler (credit: CBS2)

Sarah Butler (credit: CBS2)


“It’s sad, sad times,” Victor Butler said.

In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, police said they believe 20-year-old Khalil Wheeler-Weaver of East Orange strangled Butler, then placed her body under a pile of leaves in the West Orange section of Eagle Rock Reservation.

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

Prosecutors said the two met up several times throughout the night, but there is no evidence that they were in a romantic relationship.

Sarah’s father hadn’t seen a picture of his daughter’s alleged killer, but asked to be shown one — he wasn’t sure if he had seen Wheeler-Weaver before.

“What I really want, just to find out what happened. What could she have done to him to make him kill her? Those are the questions that I have for him,” he said.

Sarah went missing on November 22, prosecutors said her body was found nearly a week later.

“Right now I’m not focusing on him. We are focusing on getting her buried right now, that’s it. Getting her buried nicely, and stuff like that,” Butler said.

Butler’s alleged killer in in the Essex County Correction Facility, bail has been set at $1-million.