Ex-Temple student is murder suspect in missing student case
PHILADELPHIA — A former Temple University student was charged Sunday with murder in the death of a current student whose remains were found over the weekend on property linked to the suspect.
Jenna Burleigh, 22, was reported missing by her family Thursday night. She was last seen on surveillance video leaving a bar near the school campus in north Philadelphia early that morning in the company of a man police have identified as Joshua Hupperterz, 29.
Hupperterz was taken into custody Friday in Paupack Township and a body was found Saturday on township property belonging to his grandmother. Philadelphia police said Sunday that the body had been confirmed as that of the victim.
Besides the murder charge, Hupperterz faces charges of possession of an instrument of crime, evidence-tampering and abuse of a corpse. Court documents don’t list an attorney for him and a message left at a number listed in his name wasn’t immediately returned.
Authorities believe Burleigh was killed in Philadelphia and taken to the Wayne County township, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Scranton.
Philadelphia police said Hupperterz, who once attended Temple, told university police investigators on Friday that he “had been so drunk when he left the bar he had no recollection of who he had been with.”
Capt. John Ryan, commander of the Philadelphia police homicide unit, said investigators found evidence relevant to the case at a Philadelphia apartment and a residence in Jenkintown before the body was found and Hupperterz was charged.
“We still don’t even know the cause of death,” Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross said. “We still have a lot of work to do, to include trying to figure out who else may have been involved, if there’s anyone else at all.”
Temple University President Richard Englert said Burleigh started at the school this semester as a junior transfer student from Montgomery County Community College, majoring in film and media arts.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to Jenna’s family and her classmates, both here at Temple and at Montgomery County Community College,” he said.
Burleigh’s father, Edward, posted on Facebook Saturday evening that “Our Beautiful Angel Jenna is now in Heaven.”
“Now I know for sure that you can have a ‘broken heart’ RIP honey,” he said in the post.