Slain Temple Student to Friends Before Killing: Help

Police documents have revealed new details on the murder of Temple University student Jenna Burleigh. The documents reveal that the suspect's grandfather was the one who found her body inside a tote in the shed of his estranged wife's home. 

(Published Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017)

What to Know

  • Jenna Burleigh reached out to two friends asking for help about a half hour before leaving a North Philadelphia bar, sources said.

  • They included a phone call, voicemail, text message and direct message via Instagram, sources said.

  • The suspect's grandfather discovered Burleigh's body after spotting a storage bin in a shed on his estranged wife's Wayne County property.

About two hours before her life came to a violent end, Jenna Burleigh reached out to a pair of friends asking for their help, law enforcement sources tell NBC10.

The 22-year-old Temple University film major called a childhood friend about 30 minutes before closing time at a North Philadelphia pub early Thursday morning. The friend had been at the bar with his roommate and Burleigh. But he and his roommate left to get food shortly after arriving.

NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal is on Temple University's campus ahead of a vigil for slain student Jenna Burleigh. More details have emerged about Burleigh's death and the accusations against accused killer Josh Hupperterz.

(Published Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017)

The friend missed the call and Burleigh left a voicemail, sources said. A short time later, Burleigh sent a text message asking for help.

Sources said Burleigh also sent a direct message over Instagram to another friend with a similar plea.

It’s unclear whether Burleigh’s messages came because she was fearful for her life or something else. Sources said they were sent between 1:15 and 1:30 a.m. Thursday — 30 minutes before Pub Webb, the bar along Cecil B. Moore Avenue, closed for the night.

Neither friend saw the messages until the next morning. They're said to be very upset about missing her attempts to reach them.

Photos: The Life of Jenna Burleigh

Burleigh left the bar around 2 a.m. with Josh Hupperterz, the man charged with her murder, and then went back to his apartment a few blocks away, investigators said.

Burleigh was killed about 4 a.m. Thursday inside the apartment along N. 16th Street, police said. Hupperterz allegedly stuffed her body into a blue plastic storage bin and moved it to his mother’s home in Jenkintown. Sources said the 29-year-old then used a Lyft ride-hailing car to transport it to his grandmother’s home in Wayne County, Pennsylvania.

A search warrant for the Paupack Township, Pa. property newly obtained by NBC10 details how Hupperterz's grandfather, George Stabilito, found Burleigh's body.

Stabilito told state police he was doing some maintenance Saturday on the E. Shore Drive property — owned by his estranged wife — when he made the discovery, according to the warrant.

He was checking a lakefront shed for snakes when he noticed the blue plastic bin. When he opened it, he found Burleigh's yellowing body covered in a blanket, the warrant states. He immediately called police.

Burleigh's body was found a day after a Philadelphia police detective and FBI agent visited the property to question Hupperterz.

Investigators noted in the report that he had scratches and cuts on his neck and lacerations to his right hand. A deep cut to his middle finger required several stitches.

The court documents say Hupperterz claimed he got some cuts when he broke a bowl while he was drunk. He said the scratches were from rough sex earlier in the week.

Hupperterz is charged with murder and related offenses in Burleigh's killing. He is being held in a Philadelphia jail without bail and has yet to retain legal counsel. He has not yet entered a plea in the case.

Investigators are still working on determining a motive in the killing.