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September 03, 2017

Coroner: Temple student died from blunt trauma, strangulation

Homicide Investigation
Jenna Burleigh and Joshua Hupperterz Philadelphia Police Department/

Joshua Hupperterz (right), 29, was charged in the murder of Jenna Burleigh (left), 22, who disappeared after last being seen near Temple University's campus around 2 a.m. Thursday. Police said Saturday night that Hupperterz confessed to "elements of the crime."

A 22-year-old Temple University student, found dead over the weekend after she had been reported missing Thursday, died from blunt trauma and strangulation.

The Wayne County Coroner's Office announced that it had completed an autopsy Sunday morning on the body of Jenna Burleigh.

Philadelphia police charged Joshua Hupperterz, 29, with murder, tampering with evidence, abuse of a corpse and other offenses after Hupperterz confessed to "elements of the crime," authorities said.

Police believe Burleigh was killed in Hupperterz's apartment at 1708 N. 16th St., and that her remains were later taken to Hupperterz's grandmother's property in Paupack Township, Wayne County.

Police found Hupperterz at the lakefront property and discovered Burleigh's body there.

Hupperterz was arraigned on the murder and related charges Sunday morning, and he was separately arraigned on drug charges, court records show.

An attorney is not yet listed for the former Temple student, and he is being denied bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 20.

Burleigh's father announced her death on Facebook Friday night, saying his daughter was "now in heaven."

"Now I know for sure that you can have a 'broken heart,' he wrote. "RIP honey."

Earlier Sunday, the father of Dean Finocchiaro, one of the four young men murdered earlier this summer in a Bucks County case that shocked the region and beyond, shared his condolences with Ed Burleigh and his family on Facebook.

"To the Burleigh family my heart aches for the loss of your child," he commented in response to Burleigh's post. "I know what (you're) going through because I lost my child Dean in July to a horrible act of violence. May god help your family get through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you all."

Burleigh, who was a junior studying film and media arts, was reported missing Thursday after eating dinner with her father Wednesday night in Harleysville, where she had been living and commuting to Philadelphia for school. Police said Burleigh told her dad she planned to go out with friends Wednesday night and stay in the city.

She was last seen around 2 a.m. Thursday in the area of Pub Webb, a bar and restaurant off Temple's campus at 1527 Cecil B. Moore. Surveillance video captured Burleigh and Hupperterz walking together that night toward his apartment, located just around the corner from the bar.

The investigation led police to Hupperterz's apartment, where they reportedly found blood, drugs and $20,000 in cash.

Court records also show that Hupperterz pleaded guilty in 2013 to theft from a vehicle and in 2011 to possession of drug paraphernalia. In 2013, Hupperterz allegedly broke into a Scranton home and stole electronics, electronics, laundry detergent and a half keg of beer, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.