Carolyn Byington, the woman who was found dead in her Plainsboro apartment on June 10, was murdered by a coworker at her workplace at Engine, a marketing company in Carnegie Center, authorities allege.
Kenneth C. Saal, 30, of Lindenwold, in Camden County, was arrested August 21 and charged with one count of first-degree murder and a third degree weapon possession offense, said Plainsboro Police Chief Fred Tavener and Middlesex Prosecutor Andrew Carey.
Byington lived in Plainsboro. She was a senior associate in project management, and Saal is a staff accountant at Engine.
The charges against Saal were filed following a several-month investigation conducted by the Plainsboro Police and the Prosecutor’s Office. Saal, who is married and has an infant child, was apprehended at his residence by officers from the prosecutor’s office and the Plainsboro Police Department.
Saal pleaded not guilty during a hearing in Middlesex County Superior Court on August 23. He was being held at the Middlesex County Jail pending a detention hearing scheduled for August 27, after U.S. 1 went to press.
Byington’s body was discovered inside her Hunters Glen apartment by police at 6 p.m. on June 10. She had suffered multiple stab wounds and sustained blunt force trauma, police said. Officers had been dispatched to Byington’s apartment following a request by her coworkers to conduct a wellness check. They had become concerned after she left for her lunch break and never returned.
Her death was ruled to be a homicide later that evening following an autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A criminal complaint filed with the court details the case against Saal. According to authorities, Saal took his lunch break at the same time as Byington, and he later sent a text message to his supervisor that he would be late due to an appointment with a mechanic.
Police said the supervisor later learned that Saal had lied about being at the mechanic. In addition, police obtained video footage of a car matching Saal’s travelling in the vicinity of Hunters Glen at 2:04 p.m. on the day of the killing.
Coworkers reported that in the days following the murder, Saal’s demeanor changed. They also reported seeing cuts on his knuckles and hands. He also allegedly asked a colleague about whether people can get arrested on circumstantial evidence in a murder case.
On August 19 investigators received the results of a DNA test of material discovered under Byington’s fingernails that found that Saal could not be excluded. Authorities moved to charge Saal following the results of the DNA test.
Meanwhile, investigators have not yet released a motive for the crime. A number of news outlets have reported that neighbors said they heard faint screams coming from the apartment on the day she was killed, along with what sounded like furniture moving. The neighbors told reporters they didn’t see anyone leave, and no one called police to report what they heard. It is believed that Byington was attacked once she entered her apartment.
Engine is a marketing and advertising company headquartered in New York with 12 offices around the world. As of August 27 it no longer listed its Carnegie Center office on its website. The company did not answer an email from U.S. 1 asking whether the Princeton office was still open or if Saal was still employed there.
“We are cooperating fully with the police. Our primary interest is in helping them get justice for Carolyn’s tragic death. Our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information on the crime is asked to call Plainsboro Det. Tim McMahon at 609-799-2333 ext. 1627, or Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Det. David Abromaitis at 732-745-4436.