MONTCLAIR, NJ - The family of Sarah Butler has received an outpouring of support from the community since her life was tragically taken.
Nearly 100 residents gathered outside the family home on Saturday to hold a vigil in her memory, one also took place on the campus of New Jersey City University, where Butler was a freshman.
Memorial services have been arranged as follows:
A wake will be held on Thursday, Dec. 15, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the funeral is on Friday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m., at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 51 Elm St. in Montclair.
Butler was reported missing by her family shortly before Thanksgiving on November 22. Her lifeless body was later found under a pile of leaves on Dec. 1 at Eagle Rock Reservation, according to law enforcement officers.
Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson has released a statement asking for the community to support her family with burial expenses. Jackson wrote, "We mourn her loss as a community and extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Montclair has supported the Butler family in so many ways and with such compassion and the Township Council wishes to express its appreciation."
His statement added, "...we can support the Butlers further by making a donation on the Go Fund Me page, Sarah Butler's Light, established to help the family with final expenses. Any amount will make a real difference."
Butler was a graduate of Montclair High School and worked part-time at the Montclair YMCA as a lifeguard. She also danced with Premiere Dance Academy in Montclair.
Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, 20, of Orange, appeared in court on Tuesday, Dec. 13, pleading not guilty to charges that he allegedly killed Butler.
Wheeler-Weaver was arrested on Tuesday, Dec. 6 and charged with one count murder and one count disturbing human remains. His bail was set for $1M.