Suspect formally charged with Temple University student's murder

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Sunday, September 3, 2017
Suspect formally charged with Temple student's murder
Suspect formally charged with Temple student's murder. Annie McCormick reports during Action News Mornings on September 3, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia police have formally charged a man with killing a Temple University student who had been missing since early Thursday morning.

Joshua Hupperterz, 29, was charged with murder early Sunday. He was also charged with abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence, and possession of an instrument of crime.

Investigators said on Saturday he had admitted to elements of the crime.

Jenna Burleigh, 22, of Harleysville, was last seen in the area of Pub Webb at 1527 Cecil B. Moore Avenue around 2 a.m. Thursday.

Pictured: Jenna Burleigh and a surveillance photo released by police showing Burleigh with the clothes she was believed to have been wearing.

Police believe Burleigh and Hupperterz had just met before they left from the bar. Investigators say there is no indication of a prior relationship between the two.

According to investigators, a detective contacted Hupperterz to ask him what he knew about Burleigh's disappearnace.

Police said in a statement released Sunday morning, "Hupperterz informed him that he had been so drunk when he left the bar he had no recollection of who he had been with."

VIDEO: Police news conference on Jenna Burleigh's murder

VIDEO: News conference on death of Jenna Burleigh. See raw video from September 2, 2017.

Burleigh was reported missing by her father, and the community was alerted to Burleigh's disappearance on Friday.

According to Philadelphia police, the investigation led from a home on the 1700 block of North 16th Street, then to a home in Jenkintown, Pa., then finally to Paupack Township in Wayne County.

VIDEO: Police search home in Jenkintown, Pa.

Police are investigating a home in Jenkintown in connection to a missing Temple University student.

On Saturday afternoon, police discovered a body believed to be Burleigh on the lakefront property of Hupperterz's grandmother in Paupack Township.

Police believe Burleigh was murdered in Philadelphia, then her body was transported to the Jenkintown home, then to Wayne County.

There was no word on the circumstances or cause of Burleigh's death. The murder does not appear to be premeditated, investigators said.

VIDEO: Police search home on North 16th Street in Philadelphia

Philadelphia police search an off-campus home as they question a man in the case of a missing Temple University student in September 2017.

Police say Hupperterz's roommate from North 16th Street called them to say it looked like someone tried to clean up blood. Action News learned that after a search warrant was executed, blood and drugs were found inside.

Hupperterz is a former Temple student. Court documents show he was charged with DUI, theft and burglary in 2013.

Charges against other individuals are possible, police said.

Burleigh's father reacted to the news of her death on his Facebook page Saturday afternoon.

The school's president said Burleigh had just joined the Temple community this week as a junior transfer student from Montgomery County Community College, majoring in film and media arts.

In a statement, the Temple Student Government said:

Those that knew Jenna described her as "big hearted," "hilarious," "fiercely feminist," "unapologetically herself," and "an incredibly woke young woman." She spent much of her time combating racism and sexism, as well as defending the rights for LGBTQIA+ community.