YPSILANTI (WWJ/AP) – Police say a 23-year-old Eastern Michigan University student whose December death was ruled a homicide was found drowned in a bathtub.
Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker on Tuesday confirmed the cause of Julia Niswender’s death after her family announced a $10,000 reward for information in her murder. Walker said the official cause was asphyxiation associated with drowning.
“This case has always been and will continue to be a homicide,” Walker said. “There won’t be a stone unturned.”
Niswender was a Monroe native and an undergraduate at the Ypsilanti school. Her body was found in her bedroom Dec. 11 at the Peninsular Place Apartments on Huron River Drive, located across the street from the campus police station. In January, police declared her death a homicide but didn’t say how Niswender died.
Niswender’s twin sister Jennifer told The Monroe Evening News that there was no forced entry into the apartment, which was found in disarray. She said the door to Niswender’s apartment was locked, but didn’t say whether the keys were missing.
Investigators said there were no signs that a “sexual assault or struggle” took place.
While family members believe Niswender knew her attacker, police declined to confirm that or provide additional details about the case.
“These detectives have a difficult case and have been working vigorously. It’s not a clear-cut case. There’s some sensitive information,” Walker said, adding that the department has interviewed over 100 people for possible leads.
Anyone who might have information is asked to contact Ypsilanti police at 734-482-9878 or Crime Stopper at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
A website has been established to provide the latest updates on the investigation into Niswender’s death, as well as campus safety and security information. Counseling is available for students and others in the EMU family. Those interested may contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 734-487-1118.
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