Familiar New Paltz faces have been linked to the gruesome murder of a 65-year-old woman in New York City, according the New York Police Department.
The New York Times and The Times Herald Record obtained the grim details of the alleged murder and what followed.
Jared Eng, 22, of Tribeca, allegedly slit his mother’s throat, Paula Chin, during a dispute and proceeded to dump the body in New Jersey. His girlfriend, Caitlyn O’Rourke, is also suspected of being involved in the cover up along with another accomplice. While Eng hasn’t been formally charged with murder, police claim he is their prime suspect.
“They were both seemingly really normal people,” said third-year psychology major Caitlyn Pyne who conducted a class project with the pair. “Jared always seemed like the most calm and relaxed guy and Caitlyn seemed just like everyone else.”
According to a criminal complaint, surveillance footage shows Eng loading Chin’s dead body into the back of her 2004 Toyota Landcruiser on the night of Jan. 31. The video also displayed someone who resembles Eng’s third accused accomplice, 18-year-old Jennifer Lopez, backing the vehicle into the property driveway. They then transported it to Chin’s second home in Morristown, New Jersey.
After moving the body, the complaint cites an interview that detectives conducted with O’Rourke, where she claimed that Eng confessed the murder to her. She then admits to traveling to the Morristown residence with the two other suspects to hide the body in a garbage container on the property. O’Rourke also admitted to helping remove evidence from the crime scene.
Police obtained evidence for their accusations from numerous articles of bloody clothing as well as blood stains in the houses and vehicle. While a motive has yet to be determined, authorities speculate that the altercation involved finances.
The three suspects were charged with tampering with evidence and concealment of a corpse in Manhattan Criminal Court. Following their arrests, Eng was held without bail, O’Rourke was held on $50,000 bail and Lopez’s bail was set at $100,000. No further information on their impending trial is currently available.
SUNY New Paltz confirms that Eng attended the school in the fall 2018 semester, after inititally enrolling in 2015, but not for the spring 2019 semester. O’Rourke initially enrolled in 2016 and is currently a student at the school. The school had no further comment on the matter.
Chin leaves behind another son, Brandon, who initially called in the missing person’s report for his mother. Chin’s husband had died 10 years prior.
None of the defendants could be contacted in time for print.
“I was just so shocked and in disbelief to see someone I know in the news for something like that,” said third-year BFA metal major Jacob Wilt, who was in an orientation group with O’Rourke. “I just kept thinking in my head, things in the news like this usually only happen with people I don’t know, but I know those people.”