YPSILANTI (AP) – Family members of a 23-year-old Eastern Michigan University student whose bathtub drowning last December was ruled a homicide plan to hold two candlelight vigils next week to mark the anniversary of her death.
Relatives of Julia Niswender plan the first vigil Monday, The Ann Arbor News reported. Participants plan to meet at the lakehouse on the school’s Ypsilanti campus, and they’ll walk to the edge of campus, ending near the off-campus apartment where Niswender lived.
“We feel like we need to make our presence known,” said Niswender’s mother, Kim Turnquist. “We’ve had enough. We just don’t want parents to go through what we’ve gone through. It’s horrible enough that we’ve had other parents that have gone through what we have.
“The violence, this needs to stop. The college, the apartment complexes, everyone needs to make the apartment complex safer.”
The family plans to dedicate the vigil to some others slain in the last year in Ypsilanti, including Eastern Michigan football player Demarius Reed. Niswender’s family, including her grandparents, plan to attend. A second vigil is planned for Tuesday evening in Monroe.
Niswender was a Monroe native and an undergraduate. Her body was found Dec. 11, 2012, at an apartment across the street from campus. Family members have said that the apartment door was locked and that there were no signs of struggle, but that the apartment was in disarray.
This week, an Eastern Michigan student living at the same apartment complex, Peninsular Place, was wounded in the shoulder by gunfire from outside her apartment. The apartment complex also was the site of another killing during the past year.
Ypsilanti police said in August that they had exhausted most viable leads in Niswender’s death, but the investigation continues. A $15,000 reward is being offered for information in the case, with money from Crime Stoppers as well as the university.
“We feel that nothing for us has moved fast enough in our minds,” Turnquist said. “No one’s speaking. … Somebody somewhere knows something and they’re just not speaking.”
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)