(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Onondaga County, New York District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said on Saturday officials had treated the ex-boyfriend of a missing college student as a witness but knew all along he was the prime suspect in the disappearance of 20-year-old Jenni-Lyn Watson. Watson's body was found Saturday in a park near her suburban Syracuse, N.Y., home, in a marsh behind the playing fields.
Steven Pieper, 21, pleaded not guilty in town court, where he is charged with second-degree murder. Officials say he and Watson had been romantically involved, off-and-on, for about a year and a half but Watson broke it off in October.
She came home for Thanksgiving from college in Pennsylvania, where she was a dance major and disappeared from her parents' home Nov. 19. Hundreds of searchers combed the countryside looking for her, finally discovering the body Saturday in Clay Central Park.
Authorities say they do not have any eyewitness reports linking Pieper to the Watson home, where they believe the girl was murdered. They are asking neighbors to contact authorities if they saw Pieper's black Volkswagen in the neighborhood on the day Jenni-Lyn Watson disappeared.
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