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Investigation Continues Into Murder Of Temple University Student Jenna Burleigh

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Officials in the Wayne County Coroners office have officially released the cause of death for 22-year-old Jenna Burleigh.

The autopsy examination determined that Burleigh was killed by a combination of Blunt Force Trauma and Strangulation.

Authorities say Burleigh went missing around 2 a.m. Thursday near Temple's campus.

Police say former Temple student Joshua Hupperterz, 29, last seen with Burleigh, was taken into custody Saturday in Paupack Township, Wayne County, about 25 miles east of Scranton.

Joshua Hupperterz.jpg_2017-09-03 17-16-11
(credit: Philadelphia Police)

Police say  Burleigh's body was found on lakefront property there owned by Hupperterz's grandmother.

Sources say her body was discovered in a plastic container, and they believe she was put in there after her murder, and driven around, possibly using the ride-sharing program Lyft.

A spokeswoman for Lyft, writes,"These allegations are devastating. We stand ready to work with the authorities in their investigation."

Investigators say Burleigh met Hupperterz at Pub Webb, a bar at 16th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue near Temple's campus. The two were seen leaving together on video Thursday morning.

Authorities had executed a search warrant at an off-campus apartment in the 1700 block of North 16th Street Friday. Investigators believe Burleigh was killed there and then taken to Jenkintown, and then eventually to Wayne County where her body was found.

Investigators say the death doesn't appear to be premeditated.

Hupperterz has been charged with murder, possessing an instrument of crime, abuse of corpse, tampering with evidence and drug-related offense.

He was denied bail. His preliminary hearing is set for September 20th.

At a press conference on Saturday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross stressed that the investigation was still in its early stages as they were "still trying to determine a cause of death."

Police also were working to determine whether or not anyone else was involved.

Earlier in the day, Jenna's father Ed Burleigh had this to say on Facebook following the news of his daughter's death:

"Our Beautiful Angel Jenna is now in Heaven. Now I know for sure that you can have a "broken heart" RIP honey."

The news of Burleigh's murder has been felt throughout the student body at Temple.

The student government's Communications Director, Sarah Madaus says Burleigh's death is felt throughout the school.

"Just a lot of sadness and grief throughout campus."

"Even though many students did not know Jenna personally, she was a new student here. She did leave an impact on this community. Any time we lose an Owl, is a time that we grieve."

"She spent a lot of time combating racism and sexism, and she very much defended the rights for the LGBTQIA+ community. And so that is super important to Temple, as we are a university that fosters diversity in that way."

Temple University's President Richard M. Englert released a statement following Saturday's press conference:

"The Temple University family was deeply saddened today to learn of the death of Jenna Burleigh, 22, of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, who transferred to Temple this week. Police on Saturday arrested Josh Hupperterz, 29, of Hawley, Pennsylvania, and expect to charge him in Jenna's death. Hupperterz is a former Temple student. An investigation continues with police from Temple, the city of Philadelphia, and other departments. Jenna joined the Temple community just this week 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. This is a tragic event, and anyone in the Temple community could be deeply touched by it. We want to remind you that Tuttleman Counseling Services is available on Main Campus, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by calling 215-204-7276. After regular business hours, for psychiatric emergency services 24 hours a day, contact Temple's Crisis Response Center at Episcopal Hospital at 215-707-2577 or contact Campus Safety Services at 215-204-1234. Students who require assistance off-campus should dial 911. As always, students should call Campus Safety Services at 215-204-1234 from off campus or 1-1234 from campus if they feel unsafe for any reason."

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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