By Kristen Johanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 21-year-old art student from Philadelphia was found dead in Cobbs Creek, and now detectives are trying to find her killer.

Authorities say Kierra Johnson was strangled with something, like a rope or cord, and left in the creek, right off the Cobbs Creek Parkway, near Spruce Street. She was found Friday morning by a passerby.

“Someone was out jogging and contacted a PAL officer at a local PAL center,” said Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. John Ryan.

Ryan says they are now combing through surveillance video

“We are working on tracking down her movements and isolating who she was last with,” he said.

Johnson was an art student at Hussian College. A spokeswoman for the school said in a statement she was a talented, gentle, kind person and an excellent artist, who will be deeply missed.

“Talented, gentle, kind and always smiling Ki was not only a visual artist, but a performance artist as well. She will be deeply missed by all and it is a particularly difficult time for us as we are a small, close-knit community,” the statement read.

“If you have any sense of decency, please. Turn yourself in. Face the consequences like a human being,” said the victim’s cousin Eric Jett. “She had a bright personality, was always outgoing. “She was a unique individual, had her own sense of flair, always stood for the right cause.”

kierra 2 21 Year Old Art Student Found Dead In Cobbs Creek

Photo of Kierra Johnson. (credit: Hussian College)

Neighbor Pablo Matta says they used to wave to each other in the mornings.

“It’s a nice place. I never hear anything like that happen,” Matta said.

Ryan says so far, investigators have not identified a motive.

“There are cameras all over the city so we’re checking every possible lead and every possible avenue to develop suspects,” Ryan said.

Family members are still making vigil and funeral arrangements.


More From CBS Philly

Latest Forecast
Weather App
Latest Videos

Watch & Listen LIVE