YPSILANTI (WWJ) – Eastern Michigan University was the backdrop for an evening vigil, bringing friends and family of a 23-year-old, killed a year ago this week, together in her memory.
Candles were lit for a life cut short, as dozens gathered to remember EMU student Julia Niswender.
Niswender was a Monroe native and an undergraduate at the Ypsilanti school.
“Christmas will never be the same and our birthday is coming up, and my birthday … I just don’t look forward to birthdays anymore either,”said twin sister Jennifer Niswender.
The vigil procession ended at Julia’s apartment in Ypsilanti.
“We haven’t been to Peninsular Place (apartments) since Julia’s passing,” said her mother Kim Turquist. “After cleaning out her apartment and so it’s really kind of touching.”
“I have not heard that any tips have come in – even since we did the Crimestopper,” she added.
Some like EMU senior Jason Johnson still can not believe that Niswender was killed so close to campus.
“I always felt safe,” said Johnson adding that since the murder, he thinks security around the campus has been tightened.
A medical examiner ruled the official cause of death as asphyxiation associated with drowning.
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. Family members believe Niswender knew her attacker.
If you have any information you are asked to contact Ypsilanti police at 734-482-9878.
Tips can also be provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP, online atwww.1800speakup.org, or by texting “CSM” and your tip to CRIMES (274637).