Jordan McClanahan was taken into police custody Tuesday after allegedly admitting to strangling 21-year-old Jessica Leigh White at his Hazel Park, Michigan, home.
White's body was found in an attic crawl space behind a false wall in McClanahan's bedroom. The access point to the space was hidden behind a cabinet, Hazel Park Police Department Chief Martin Barner tells PEOPLE.
"Unless you knew it was there you never would have seen it," Barner says.
Police believe McClanahan stored White's body in his attic after killing her two weeks earlier.
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White was reported missing by her family on April 24, and was last seen with McClanahan the night before she was reported missing. Barner says White's family became worried when they couldn't reach her. The 21-year-old didn't have a history of running away and was close with her family and community.
"She was a very passive girl, very loving, very giving and would do anything for anybody," Barner says. "A genuinely a good person."
Prior to his alleged confession, McClanahan had told authorities he last saw White she asked him to drop her off in Detroit to meet up with friends. His story set off a mass search effort that included multiple law enforcement agencies and volunteers, Barner says.
Hazel Park Police Department
Hazel Park, a suburb of Detroit, has not had a homicide in six years, and White and McClanahan were good friends – growing up together since grade school.
"It's a tragic incident based on the nature and circumstances of their relationship," Barner tells PEOPLE. "Any death investigation, especially a homicide, is particularly tough. We all have friends, cousins, daughters and sisters who were that age."
Police are unable to comment on what McClanahan used to allegedly kill White. According to an autopsy report, White was strangled to death. The motive for the killing is still unknown.
"Evidence and facts will lead you to what occurred, as for the why? Sometimes you'll never know and we really don’t have a 'why' in this case," Barner tells PEOPLE.
McClanahan is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon for an arraignment.