Police Want to Talk to Roommate of Man Accused of Killing Temple Student Jenna Burleigh

Police hope suspect Josh Hupperterz's roommate can help them in the investigation, commissioner says.

Philadelphia detectives hope the roommate of a man charged with killing a Temple University student in a North Philadelphia apartment has information that can help their investigation.

"We have the one suspect in custody we are looking to see if anyone else is involved," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said Tuesday morning.

Ross said its not clear whether the roommate, who has not been identified, played a role in the homicide, but that detectives can't rule out anything until they speak with him.

Josh Hupperterz, a 29-year-old former Temple student, is charged with murder in the Aug. 31 death of Temple junior Jenna Burleigh.

Burleigh, from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, was last seen leaving Pub Webb, a popular bar adjacent to Temple's North Philadelphia campus, with Hupperterz around 2 a.m. Thursday, police said.

She was later killed in his apartment along the 1700 block of N. 16th Street, which is about two blocks from the bar, officials said.

When Burleigh did not return home later that day, concerned friends and relatives reached out to Temple officials.

Law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC10 that hours before, around 4 a.m. Thursday, Temple police responded to a 911 call of a woman screaming along the same block where Hupperterz's apartment is located. When officer's arrived, they didn't find anyone in distress.

On Friday, Temple police officers returned to the block and entered Hupperterz’s apartment with a landlord. Inside, they found blood stains on the kitchen floor and on a wall near stairs, sources said.

University police talked by phone with Hupperterz, a former Temple student with a criminal background, that same day, officials said.

Hupperterz told a detective he was so drunk when he left the bar that he didn't remember who he was with, police said.

Police said they were not satisfied with that answer.

Philadelphia detectives obtained a search warrant Friday for the suspect's apartment. Around the same time, state police went to the home of Hupperterz's grandmother in a small Wayne County borough in northern Pennsylvania and took him into custody.

Burleigh's body was discovered Saturday inside a shed on the Paupack Township property, about 150 miles away from Philadelphia. She had been stuffed inside a plastic storage bin, police said.

Photos: The Life of Jenna Burleigh

The motive for the killing remains unclear.

Hupperterz was charged Sunday morning with murder, abuse of a corpse, tampering with and fabricating evidence and other related offenses. The 29-year-old was also arraigned on separate drug charges, according to court records.

A vigil is planned for Burleigh Thursday at the skate park just off Broad at Cecil B. Moore on Temple University's campus. A viewing will also take place Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Williams-Bergey-Koffel Funeral Home, Inc. on 667 Harleysville Pike in Telford (Franconia Township), Pennsylvania.

Another viewing, followed by a funeral mass, will be held Friday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church on 1601 Derstine Road in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. Burleigh's interment will be private.

Hupperterz is being held at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia without bail. He does not have an attorney. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 20, according to court records.

Additional grisly details of Burleigh's final hours emerged over the weekend.

Burleigh's body moved from Hupperterz's North Philadelphia apartment to the Jenkintown home of his mother. Sources told NBC10 it remained there overnight. 

Then, using the ride-hailing service Lyft, Hupperterz transported Burleigh's remains to his grandmother's property, investigators said. It's unclear whether the Lyft was an unwitting participant in the body transport.

The neighbor of accused murderer Josh Hupperterz bumped into him several hours after Jenna Burleigh died. NBC10’s Denise Nakano has more. 

Police do not think Burleigh, who had recently transferred to Temple from Montgomery County Community College, and Hupperterz knew each other prior to their encounter at Pub Webb.

One Temple student who took a class with Hupperterz said the former student had a history of lying about his background. 

"He tried claiming he was on the football team," Temple senior Ahmad Goode said. "It's just a red flag. You don't know what people are capable of, honestly." 

Hupperterz's neighbor, also a Temple student, said she bumped into him in their apartment building just hours after Burleigh's death.

"It's scary to think I talked to him after everything just happened," Danielle Carabello said. "He just seemed off when I spoke with him. He was very short."

In 2013, the former Temple student was charged with burglary and other offenses after allegedly breaking into a Scranton-area home and stealing electronics, laundry detergent and a keg of beer, court documents showed.

Temple is offering on-campus counseling 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at Tuttleman Counseling Services. Students can also call 215-204-7276. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Burleigh's memory to Jenna's Blessing Bags for the Homeless. Checks can be made payable to "Univest Foundation - Jenna's Blessing Bags" and sent to Univest Foundation, 14 N. Main St., P.O. Box 197, Souderton, Pennsylvania, 18964. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.williamsbergeykoffel.com.

Police say the man who killed Temple Student, Jenna Burleigh, used a ride sharing app to transport her body nearly 100 miles away from the scene of the crime. NBC10’s Matt DeLucia has reactions from fellow students.
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