Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Source: Man used Lyft to take Temple student's body 100 miles to grandma's house

A police source said Joshua Hupperterz placed the remains of Jenna Burleigh - the Temple student he's accused of killing - in a container and transported them more than 100 miles in a Lyft car.

Joshua Hupperterz, 29, of North 16th Street, is charged with  murder in the slaying of Jenna Burleigh, a 22-year-old student at Temple University.
Joshua Hupperterz, 29, of North 16th Street, is charged with murder in the slaying of Jenna Burleigh, a 22-year-old student at Temple University.Read morePhiladelphia Police Department

The man charged with killing Temple University student Jenna Burleigh in his North Philadelphia apartment last week placed her remains in a container that was taken to his mother's Jenkintown home, where he later put it into a Lyft car and rode more than 100 miles to his grandmother's house in northeastern Pennsylvania, according to a police source.

Joshua Hupperterz, 29, a former Temple student, is charged in Burleigh's killing. The investigation is continuing days after his arrest Saturday.

Friends and supporters of Burleigh's continued Tuesday to mourn her death. Several students left notes at a makeshift vigil site on  campus. Organizer Salvatore Mirando, 21, a senior theater major from Staten Island, N.Y., said he believed it was important for the school community to have a space to remember Burleigh, 22.

"A lot of people were asking to do something for her," said Mirando, who did not know Burleigh but lit four candles, placed a bouquet of a dozen carnations, and wrote two notes on loose-leaf paper and taped them to the bottom of an owl statue in Founders Garden.

Burleigh's body was found Saturday at the Wayne County home of Hupperterz's grandmother. A police source said Burleigh's remains were recovered inside a utility shed. The Wayne County coroner ruled Sunday that Burleigh, of Harleysville, died from the combined effects of blunt trauma and strangulation.

A Lyft spokesman said that the allegation that Hupperterz rode for hours with a murder victim in the car was "devastating," and that the company would cooperate with authorities.

Hupperterz also faces counts of abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence, according to court records.

Attempts to reach Hupperterz's family were unsuccessful. Three people outside his mother's home on a quiet block in Jenkintown declined to comment. His court record does not list an attorney.

Neighbors on the block and around the corner, where the family used to live, gave mixed recollections of Hupperterz. One said he seemed like a "regular teenager," others said he was prone to exaggeration and trouble.

Robert Adshead, an attorney who represented Hupperterz in two previous criminal cases in Montgomery County, said he was stunned to learn of the allegations against his former client.

Adshead said that Hupperterz was quiet and respectful to him, and that nothing about his demeanor or prior crimes suggested he was violent. In 2010, Adshead represented Hupperterz for possessing small amounts of marijuana. In 2011, Adshead was hired again to represent Hupperterz after he was accused of stealing coins, CDs, and other items from neighbors' cars.

"In a million years, I'd never guess that he'd be facing [the charges] he is now apparently facing," Adshead said Tuesday.

Reece Maurer, 21, a Temple senior who lives in the same North Philadelphia apartment building where Hupperterz was living, on 16th Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue, said Tuesday that he had encountered Hupperterz twice — in mid-August when they were moving into the building, and in late August in the shared basement laundry room.

"I personally thought he seemed normal," said Maurer, who said Hupperterz complained of plumbing problems on the first day. Hupperterz identified himself as "Cali" and didn't give his real first name, said Maurer, who found that peculiar in retrospect.

Patrick Dallas, who lives a few blocks away, said he took an advertising class with Hupperterz at Temple in the spring, and that Hupperterz at one point in class told of assaulting someone at a bar. Dallas, 22, said a professor's question, which he could not remember, had prompted Hupperterz to tell the story. He said he found it "weird" that Hupperterz would tell such a tale to a class of about 20 people.

There is no court record of Hupperterz being prosecuted for assault or similar offenses.

Hupperterz, held without bail for his murder charges, also faces a separate set of drug-related counts for what police sources described as a large amount of marijuana found at his house on the night of the murder.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 20, according to court records.