September 02, 2017
The body of a 22-year-old Temple University student reported missing Thursday was found on a northeastern Pennsylvania property, Philadelphia police confirmed Saturday night.
Jenna Burleigh's body was found Saturday afternoon in Wayne County, Homicide Captain John Ryan said in a press conference. Burleigh, of Harleysville, Montgomery County, had been missing since about 2 a.m. Thursday after she was last seen in the area of Pub Webb, a bar and restaurant near Temple's campus at 1527 Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Joshua Hupperterz, 29, a former Temple student, confessed to "elements of the crime," Ryan said. He has been charged with murder and other offenses.
Police said Burleigh's body was found on a lakefront property belonging to Hupperterz's grandmother in Hawley, about 140 miles from Philadelphia.
Ryan said the investigation led police to the property, and they found Hupperterz there. Police questioned him there and brought him back to Philadelphia, he said.
He said crime scenes were processed at Hupperterz's North Philadelphia apartment at 1708 N. 16th St. and a home in Jenkintown, which reportedly belongs to Hupperterz's mother and stepfather.
Hupperterz had assistance from other people who have spoken with police, Ryan said.
Ed Burleigh, Jenna's father, posted about his daughter's death in a Facebook post Saturday evening, saying his daughter was "now in heaven."
"Now I know for sure that you can have a 'broken heart,' he wrote. "RIP honey."
Police confirmed the search, but when asked about the reported evidence found in Hupperterz's home, Ryan said he could not comment on what may have been found. Officials said surveillance video showed Hupperterz and Burleigh leaving Pubb Webb together around 2 a.m. Friday morning.
According to 6ABC, homes in Jenkintown and Lackawanna County were also searched.
When asked about the relationship between Huppererz and Burleigh, Ryan said the two did meet at Pub Webb and were seen leaving together on surveillance video in the early hours of Thursday morning.
"There's nothing we have so far that indicates there's a previous relationship between the two," he said.
Ryan said Burleigh appears to have been killed at Hupperterz's apartment. She was then taken to the Jenkintown property and then to Wayne County, he said.
He also said police do not think the murder was premeditated.
Police Commissioner Richard Ross said investigators do not yet know a cause of death.
"This is early," Ross said. "We do unfortunately believe that she was killed, but we don't know how. We still have a lot of work to do.
"We still have a lot of unanswered questions."
Ross also said police are "trying to figure out who else may have been involved, if there's anyone else at all."
The commissioner addressed the department's inability to divulge certain details of the case by Saturday night.
"There are things we cannot discuss right now, but there are also things we just don't know," he said.
Charlie Leone, the executive director of Temple's Campus Safety Services, told PhillyVoice on Saturday that Burleigh's family contacted Temple police when she never came home Thursday.
Temple police posted a flyer on its Twitter page Friday asking for help in finding the student after she was reported missing to the Lower Salford police.
Burleigh was a junior studying film and media arts. She reportedly transferred from Montgomery County Community College to the university for the fall semester.
"All these cases bother us," Ross said. "Particularly when you hear about instances like this, they really hit home.
"It's a totally heartbreaking case."