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Jenni-Lyn Watson Update: Body of Missing Student Found, Ex-Boyfriend Arrested in Upstate NY

Jenni-Lyn Watson Update: Body of Missing Student Found, Boyfriend Arrested in Upstate NY
Jenni-Lyn Watson (Personal Photos)

CLAY, N.Y. (CBS/WTVH) Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and Undersheriff Warren Darby held a news conference Saturday evening to announce an arrest in the case of missing Liverpool woman Jenni-Lyn Watson, whose body was found in Clay Central Park Saturday morning.

PICTURES: Jenni-Lyn Watson Missing

Fitzpatrick and Darby announced the arrest of 21-year-old Steven Piper and charged him with second degree murder in the disappearance and death of Watson, reports CBS affiliate WTVH.

Officials say Piper, who is also from Liverpool, had been voluntarily interviewed twice by police investigators during the time Jenni-Lyn Watson was missing, which began last Friday. Fitzpatrick says Piper denies involvement in her death.

Piper and Watson had dated on and off for 18 months, according to Fitzpatrick, and she wanted the relationship to end but "that message apparently did not get through."

Fitzpatrick says Piper visited the Watson home early Friday morning.

Piper has a minor record, but "no crimes of violence." Fitzpatrick said an autopsy would be performed early Sunday morning, which should provide evidence on the cause of death.

Undersheriff Warren Darby says the search was concentrated near Clay Central Park because of information from Verizon on the victim's cell phone. Investigators made the discovery at about 10:30 Saturday morning in a heavily wooded area near Clay Central Park. 

Fitzpatrick says it appears someone tried to conceal the body, but it was not buried. It was behind a utility shed about 350 yards off Wetzel Road on public land. Fitzpatrick says search crews were in the area on Friday.

Officials say they found no blood at scene, and no sign of struggle.

The Sheriff's Office will distribute pictures of Piper and of his Volkswagon, in efforts to get more eyewitnesses who may have seen the car between 11:00 a.m. and noon on Friday morning, the day Watson disappeared from her Donegal Way home.

If you have any information about her whereabouts, call Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies at 315-435-3081.