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September 06, 2017

Report: Slain Temple student asked friends for help shortly before her homicide

Police believe Jenna Burleigh was killed off campus around 4 a.m. Thursday

Crime Homicide
Jenna Burleigh Janelle Burleigh/Facebook

Jenna Burleigh

Jenna Burleigh contacted two friends and left messages asking them for help about two hours before she was murdered last week, according to a report.

Citing law enforcement sources, NBC10 reported Wednesday that Burleigh called a childhood friend about 30 minutes before closing time at Pub Webb, the Cecil B. Moore Avenue bar off Temple's campus, where police said she and Joshua Hupperterz had met on Wednesday night.

RELATED: Father of Bucks County murder victim offers condolences to slain Temple student's dad

Hupperterz, who had taken classes at the university through last spring, was charged with murder and related offenses after police said he allegedly confessed to "elements of the crime."

Burleigh, a 22-year-old junior who had just transferred to Temple University for the fall semester, had been reported missing Thursday. Then police announced on Saturday she had been found dead.

The friend Burleigh contacted had been at the same bar along with his roommate earlier that night, but he and his roommate left to get food shortly after they arrived, according to the report.

RELATED: Vigil, service planned to honor Temple student Jenna Burleigh

The friend missed the call and Burleigh left a voicemail and a follow-up text message asking for help, NBC10 reported. The victim also sent a similar message over Instagram to another friend, the station reported.

It's unclear why Burleigh was asking for help, sources told NBC10, and the messages were sent between 1:15 and 1:30 a.m. Thursday. Neither friend saw Burleigh's messages until the next morning.

Surveillance video showed Burleigh and Hupperterz walking together in the early hours of the morning toward his apartment on the 1700 block of North 16th Street, around the corner from the bar. She was last seen in that area around 2 a.m., police said.

Burleigh reportedly was killed around 4 a.m. Thursday inside Hupperterz's apartment, police said. She died from the combined effects of blunt force trauma and strangulation, according to authorities.

Her body was later found at a lakefront property belonging to Hupperterz's grandmother in Hawley, Wayne County, about 140 miles north of Philadelphia. Police found Hupperterz there, too, questioned him and took him back to police headquarters in Philly, authorities said.

Burleigh's obituary states that she devoted a lot of her time to speaking out against racism, homelessness and sexism, as well as defending rights for the LGBTQ community. She was "unapologetically herself," and loved attending the Philadelphia Folk Festival and spending time at the shore in Avalon, New Jersey, with her family.

Condolences and words of support for Burleigh's family have flooded social media since her death.

Two vigils are tentatively planned for Thursday to honor her memory.

Viewings are set from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Williams-Bergey-Koffel Funeral Home in Franconia Township and 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Maria Goretti Church in Hatfield. 

A subsequent funeral mass will be held there at 11 a.m.