Josh Hupperterz, a 29-year-old former Temple University student, is accused in the murder of Temple student Jenna Burleigh, a media and film student who had just started classes at the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania school.
Tragically, the body of Burleigh, 22, was found at Hupperterz’ grandmother’s home shortly after her father reported her missing, police say. Police now accuse Hupperterz of using a Lyft ride to transport her body in a storage bin. The Lyft driver has not been identified, and, according to NBC Philadelphia, it’s not clear if the driver had any idea what was in the bin; Jenna’s remains were found in that bin by authorities.
She vanished after she allegedly left a bar with Hupperterz. Not long after, Philly.com reports, a neighbor heard screams emanating from his apartment in the early morning hours. The evidence in the case allegedly includes scratches on the suspect’s face and a bloodied apartment. Burleigh died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.
On Friday, September 1 at 8:45 p.m., Pennsylvania State Police found Joshua Hupperterz in Hawley, Pennsylvania, about 141 miles from Philadelphia, where he was taken into custody and transported to Central Detectives for further investigation into the disappearance of Jenna Burleigh, Philadelphia police said in a news release.
Joshua Hupperterz was subsequently arrested for his alleged involvement in the murder of Burleigh, a promising and vibrant young woman with a devotion to social justice. He is charged with murder, tampering with evidence, abuse of corpse, manufacturing with the intent to deliver and related offenses.
Hupperterz’ LinkedIn page says he attended Temple until 2017 and worked as a promotions assistant as well as studying advertising and culinary arts. “able to every sence (sic) i was a child i had a fascination with advertising. When I look at a certain commercial I am see the flaws it produces,” the page says in a rambling intro.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jenna Burleigh’s Father Reported Her Missing to Police Shortly Before Her Body Was Found
At 8:23 p.m. on Thursday, August 31, Jenna Burleigh’s father reported the Harleyville, Pennsylvania 22-year-old missing to the Lower Salford Police Department.
He told police that Jenna commutes to Temple University for classes and that he met his daughter for dinner “and she informed him that she was going out with a group of friends that night, and was going to stay overnight with one of her friends,” a police news release said.
The father then dropped his daughter off at her friend’s house in the Temple area and proceeded home. He had not heard from his daughter since that time and considered it very unusual.
The distraught father traveled to Temple University and discovered that Jenna also had not attended her scheduled class that day. Lower Salford Township and Temple University police both started looking for the young woman, and they alerted the public that she had vanished.
2. Surveillance Video Gave Police Their Break in the Case & Hupperterz Allegedly Said He Was too Drunk to Remember What Happened
Police said in the news release that they “recovered surveillance video” that captured Jenna and a male identified as Joshua Hupperterz, from North 16th Street in Philadelphia, leaving a location on the 1500 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue and walking west towards 16th Street at approximately 2:08 a.m. That location was a tavern called Pub Webb, according to local news reports.
The video allowed police to break the case open.
Temple Police then contacted Hupperterz by telephone and asked him what he knew about Jenna’s disappearance. Hupperterz allegedly told police that he “had been so drunk when he left the bar he had no recollection of who he had been with,” the police news release says.
On Friday, September 1, 2017, the police detectives spoke with Hupperterz’ roommate, who provided “investigators with credible information on the appearance of Mr. Hupperterz.” The release doesn’t say what that information was, but police subsequently obtained a search warrant for his residence on North 16th Street.
Hupperterz admitted to “elements of the crime” in a partial confession, Philadelphia Police Capt. John Ryan, commanding officer of the homicide unit, said, according to Philly.com. The newspaper quoted Ryan as saying “the killing did not appear to be premeditated, and that police did not yet know a cause of death.”
A former neighbor told Philly.com of Hupperterz: “It was actually a really common thing, almost every time I saw him … he was always outside smoking and he would always ask me and I would tell him I don’t smoke.”
3. Police Allegedly Found Burleigh’s Body at Hupperterz’ Grandmother’s House & Narcotics & Blood in Hupperterz’ Apartment
According to NBC Philadelphia, police searched both Hupperterz’ apartment in Philadelphia and state “police went to the home of Hupperterz’ grandmother in a small Wayne County borough in northern Pennsylvania.” They found Jenna Burleigh’s body there, NBC Philadelphia reported.
“Investigators believe Burleigh died inside the apartment on the 1700 block of North 16th Street. From there, her body allegedly was transported to Jenkintown and then to Paupack Township in Wayne County,” NBC Philadelphia reported.
According to Philly.com, citing police sources, “police found blood, large quantities of drugs and cash in Hupperterz’s North Philadelphia home…which sits around the corner from Pub Webb, a bar where Burleigh apparently met him for the first time.”
A search warrant “revealed further evidence into the investigation and narcotics,” a Philadelphia police press release said without being specific. His Facebook page says Hupperterz is from Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
4. Hupperterz Is a Former Student of Temple University Who Worked in Promotions & Allegedly Had a Scratched Face
According to NBC Philadelphia, Hupperterz also has ties to Temple University: He’s a former student.
Philly.com reports that, in the apartment, “police found blood spattered near the kitchen sink, rear door, and on a trash can lid, along with 10 to 15 pillow case-size bags of marijuana and about $20,000 in cash.”
The Philadelphia newspaper also reported that a neighbor “heard screams coming from the apartment around 4 a.m. Thursday” and “Hupperterz had scratches on his face and a cut of some kind on his hand. He told detectives that he injured his hand on a broken bowl in his home,” Philly.com alleged.
Philly.com reports that Hupperterz has a criminal history: “Hupperterz pleaded guilty in 2013 to theft from a motor vehicle and in 2011 to possession of drug paraphernalia. Hupperterz also popped up on the radar of police in Scranton in 2013, when he allegedly broke into a home and stole electronics, credit cards, laundry detergent, and a half keg of beer,” the newspaper reported.
According to his LinkedIn page, Hupperterz said he was currently a promotions assistant at a local restaurant. He described his duties as “I would deal with the day to day planning of the restaurant. That would consist of finding different way to bring in cliental with different promotions that would consist of me pairing different wines and dishes together. I would help simulate different dishes that would entice people to come into the restaurant. Besides that I would deal with employees and scheduling wile dealing with the payroll.”
He also wrote that he worked in marketing and finance for Lackawanna College, writing, “I was put in charge of promotions because i was able to sale (sic) people to are (sic) cause. i would get students active in what’s going on in school. I set up Lackawanna’s first concert that was called the revelation featuring the Mile high club and the Miz. I would also help produce accounts for the school dealing with their sports programs and help make billboard ads and finding students for are commercials.”
The spelling-riddled LinkedIn page in his name also says that he worked for a fitness club. He wrote, “I was a sales manager … I am more of a people’s person so this job worked for me because I would have to relate with customers by helping them live a better life by getting active. So selling plans to people was easy along with that I would have to set up events for la fitness. When we would have 5k runs or walks for cancer I would set up tents for are promotions along with make my own to get customers connected.”
At Temple, he wrote, he studied advertising and risk management with minors in economics and marketing, and wrote that he was in TKE and ad club at Temple. However, a former member of the TKE fraternity told Heavy that Hupperterz was never in TKE, writing, “Regardless of his LinkedIn profile, this person was NEVER a part of the TKE Fraternity at temple.”
On the LinkedIn page, Hupperterz also wrote that he studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. There’s a photo of him on Soundcloud, but no tracks. He had a Pinterest page with a few graphics on it.
5. Burleigh Had Just Transferred to the University & Her Father Says His Heart Is Broken
Burleigh was just starting a new school year in a new university.
The 22-year-old was “from Harleysville who had transferred from Montgomery County Community College,” NBC Philadelphia reported.
“Our Beautiful Angel Jenna is now in Heaven. Now I know for sure that you can have a ‘broken heart’ RIP honey,” her distraught father, Ed Burleigh, wrote on Facebook.
Friends wrote tributes to Jenna on social media. “Jenna was electric to be around, a smart girl who truly cared about others. Anyone who met her for one second will feel the void of her loss,” one wrote.
According to Temple University, Burleigh was a junior who had transferred from Montgomery County College. Her major was film and media arts.
“Jenna Burleigh had a huge impact on my life. She was one of the first friends I made in high school. She always told me she loved me,” another friend wrote.
She wrote about social justice issues, including racism, on a blog and on Facebook, local news reports said, recently writing,“I truly believe in the good in people and the magic that can be found in all of us. I will always fight for what’s right. I will fight for intersectional feminism because the whitewashing has to stop. I will always fight for equality for ALL. And my journey is just getting started.”