Missing Temple Student Found Dead; Fmr. Student Charged With Murder - NBC Chicago
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Missing Temple Student Found Dead; Fmr. Student Charged With Murder

The suspect, Josh Hupperterz, initially told police he was "so drunk when he left the bar he had no recollection of who he had been with."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The neighbor of accused murderer Josh Hupperterz bumped into him several hours after Jenna Burleigh died. NBC10's Denise Nakano has more. 

    (Published Monday, Sept. 4, 2017)

    Click here to get the latest on the investigation into Jenna Burleigh's murder.

    A 22-year-old Temple University student, whose remains were transported more than 100 miles using a Lyft car service, died from blunt trauma and strangulation, according to the Wayne County Coroner's Office.

    Jenna Burleigh, from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, was last seen leaving a popular bar near Temple's campus in North Philadelphia with suspect Josh Hupperterz, a former Temple student with a criminal background, police said.

    She was later killed in his apartment, officials said.

    Grisly details of Burleigh's final hours were revealed by police over the weekend.

    Her body was put inside a storage bin and moved from Hupperterz's North Philadelphia apartment to the Jenkintown home of his mother. Sources told NBC10 it remained there overnight. 

    Then, using a Lyft car service, Hupperterz transported Burleigh's remains to a shed at his grandmother's property in Paupack Township, Wayne County, investigators said.

    Burleigh's body was found in the storage bin, sources told NBC10.

    Hupperterz, from Hawley, Pennsylvania, was charged Sunday morning with killing Burleigh.

    Charges against him include murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with and fabricating evidence and other related offenses.

    The 29-year-old was also arraigned on separate drug charges, according to court records.

    Hupperterz was ordered held at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia without bail. No attorney was listed for Hupperterz. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20, according to court records.

    A spokesperson for Lyft said the company is devastated by the allegations and stands "ready to work with the authorities in their investigation."

    It is unclear if the Lyft driver, who has not been identified, knew what Hupperterz was transporting.

    Surveillance video showed Hupperterz and Burleigh walking together after leaving Pub Webb around 2 a.m. Thursday morning. When she did not return home later that day, concerned friends and relatives reached out to Temple officials.

    University police talked by phone with Hupperterz on Friday, officials said.

    "Hupperterz informed [a detective] that he had been so drunk when he left the bar he had no recollection of who he had been with," according to a statement by Philadelphia police.

    Police said they were not satisfied with that answer.

    Detectives obtained a search warrant Friday for the suspect's apartment at 1708 North 16th Street, two blocks from the bar. At the same time, state police went to the home of Hupperterz's grandmother in a small Wayne County borough in northern Pennsylvania and took him into custody.

    Josh Hupperterz

    City police and FBI agents spent Saturday morning and early afternoon scouring the North Philadelphia apartment. Investigators also talked to Hupperterz's roommate.

    By late Saturday afternoon, the search for Burleigh ended tragically when her body was found at Hupperterz's grandmother's house, 150 miles north of Philadelphia.

    "This really strikes home for you, particularly, thinking about the heartache and the grief that those parents must be going through right now," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, adding that he also has a 22-year-old daughter.

    "[Her] father, who last had dinner with his daughter, it really breaks your heart to hear ... that was the last time he saw her."

    Burleigh's friends described her as a "bundle of fun."

    "She was an exuberant person," said Danielle Halteman. "It's hard to imagine her not being here."

    On the last night of Burleigh's life, she sang karaoke with friends at a Pub Webb. 

    "Anytime anyone was around her, you were laughing, you were crying and having just the best time," Halteman said. 

    Burleigh's father, Ed Burleigh, announced his daughter's death via social media on Saturday.

    "Our Beautiful Angel Jenna is now in Heaven. Now I know for sure that you can have a 'broken heart' RIP honey," Ed Burleigh wrote on Facebook.

    Burleigh spent the last two years at Montgomery County Community College and began her first semester at Temple earlier in the week. She was majoring in film and media arts, Temple spokesman Ray Betzner said. 

    "She literally started classes on Monday," Betzner said. 

    Police do not think Burleigh and Hupperterz knew each other prior to their encounter at Pub Webb.

    However, one Temple student who took a class with Hupperterz said Hupperterz had a history of lying about his background. 

    "He tried claiming he was on the football team," Temple senior Ahmad Goode said. "It's just a red flag. You don't know what people are capable of, honestly." 

    Hupperterz's neighbor, also a Temple student, said she bumped into him in their apartment building just hours after Burleigh's death.

    "It's scary to think I talked to him after everything just happened," Danielle Carabello said. "He just seemed off when I spoke with him. He was very short."

    In 2013, the former Temple student was charged with burglary and other offenses after allegedly breaking into a Scranton-area home and stealing electronics, laundry detergent and a keg of beer, court documents showed. 

    A woman listed as the owner of the Wayne County home where Burleigh's body was found paid his bail during those initial charges, according to court records.

    The relationship between the homeowner and Hupperterz was not immediately clear.

    Temple University sent a letter to students Saturday night announcing Burleigh's death and Hupperterz's arrest.

    "Our deepest sympathies go out to Jenna’s family and her classmates, both here at Temple and at Montgomery County Community College," Temple President Richard M. Englert said in a statement.

    Temple is offering on-campus counseling 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at Tuttleman Counseling Services. Students can also call (215)204-7276. 

    CORRECTION (Sept. 3, 2017, 9:05 a.m.): An earlier version of this story misidentified Ed Burleigh. He is Jenna Burleigh's father.