November 27th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Man arrested in death of missing college student

[Updated at 6:40 p.m.] A man who had a relationship with college student Jenni-Lyn Watson was charged Saturday with second-degree murder after the discovery of a body believed to be hers, authorities in Syracuse, New York said.

A massive manhunt for the woman, who'd been missing since November 19, culminated with the discovery of what are believed to be her remains at 10:30 a.m. Saturday near Clay Central Park in North Syracuse, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office said.

Watson, 20, and Steven Pieper, 21, had dated on and off for 18 months, said District Attorney William Fitzpatrick at a Saturday press conference.

"Our indication is Ms. Watson desired this relationship to end in early October ... Apparently that message didn't get through to Mr. Pieper," Fitzpatrick said.

Authorities believe Watson was killed in her residence in Liverpool, New York on the morning of November 19 and that her body was taken to a heavily wooded area a couple miles away.


[Original post - 4 p.m.] A body discovered in a heavily wooded area near Syracuse, New York, is believed to be that of missing college student and ballerina Jenni-Lyn Watson, authorities said Saturday.

The remains were found by searchers at 10:30 a.m. near Clay Central Park in North Syracuse, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

More details were to be given at a press conference scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday.

Watson, 20, of Liverpool, New York, was last seen November 19 at her family's home, said Sgt. Robert Marshall of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office. Watson was home on a Thanksgiving break from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Liverpool is a suburb of Syracuse.

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soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Sennen

    So sad. Her family will never recover from this.

    November 27, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ginger

    It is so sad, i pray for the family.

    November 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. FA1SGL

    My prayers are with her and her family.

    November 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tommyboy

    My heart just dropped when I heard about this today,she is very beautiful and did not deserve this fate.Seems like people have forgotten how to TALK things out,instead we use violence and have to regret for someone's life,we just take it away.If it was her ex/bf he needs to be taken out back and beaten,sorry my opinion.R.I.P Jenni may you fly with the angels,because is missing one.

    November 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kate Purdy

    Jenni-Lyn had every right to walk outside her parent's home and feel safe. She did nothing wrong. I am incredibly saddened by the loss of another young woman with a life of wonder and accomplishment that will lessen our world without her influence and presence.
    It's time our society became proactive and not reactive to this unacceptable type of tragedy. I propose mandatory self defense in all of our schools, both public and priviate for every female. Mandatory. We cannot pretend anymore. Our society cannot or will not protect our women and girls so we must teach them how to do it themselves. Laws can be changed so any female who is being attacked will not and can not be charged with any crime while protecting herself with whatever means possible. It's time to look the monsters in the eye and fight for our lives...

    November 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. yaaa


    November 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Christine

    I am so saddened to hear about this tragic, senseless act of violence inflicted upon yet another young lady who had so much potential and the right to be safe. I hope justice is swift in this case, and I absolutely agree that self defense instructions should be mandatory in schools starting at elementary level and all the way through college. I am so sad to hear of this type of crime all to often. May God provide comfort to her family and friends.

    November 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kate Purdy

    Ignore my comments, I'm a feminist idiot. I forget that men are attacked as well and I shouldn't limit self defense options to just women and girls. Oh and I was educated that there are laws to protect anyone in the event of a self defense act where your life is in immediate danger. I'm sorry for being so ignorant and voicing my opinion without a respect for intellegence.

    November 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate Purdy

      I did not write this post. I am not a feminist idiot. Women are generally not as physically strong as men, thereby training should be mandatory for all females.

      November 29, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jet

    So sad ....prayers for family & friends.
    No mercy for the sublife that killed her...don't want to know why...just put "it" to death

    November 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nexus

    It is a sad and disturbing story...prayer are in order...


    November 27, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mattan Ingram

    Terribly sad, but why does the news only report it when it's a pretty white girl?

    Far more young minorities get killed and they are basically ignored.

    November 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dale Hannah

      Ingram, why do you even think that anyone wants to hear your racist drivel at a time like this? Only an ignorant ass would make such a comment. Our prayers are with Jenni-Lyn's friends and family, who now have to read and hear comments such as yours.

      November 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MrWonderful

    I'm fully aware about minority killings. The news prints them where I live. Maybe they don't in some areas. I'm actually disgusted by all the inhumanity in this world. Let's not bring race into a story that has nothing to do with it. A human life is a human life.

    November 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. The Crowleys Cicero,NY

    Our condolences to the family and friends.It was really nice to see how our communities cared and came together to help the family. We are deeply saddened to hear of the outcome.

    November 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. falcon6000


    November 27, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. butterfly

    oh that poor girl,just cause that persons life sucked he had to kill a wonderful person with so much u feel better you just messed your life up royally idiot..i pray for her family may she dance beautifully in heaven

    November 27, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
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