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Posted on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

$10K reward offered for information in Julia Niswender killing

By Katrease Stafford

A private investigator is offering a $10,000 reward for information regarding the death of 23-year-old Eastern Michigan University student Julia Niswender.

The reward is being offered by the Duvall Group Investigations PLLC., Niswender's family told


A reward is being offered for more information regarding the death of EMU student Julia Niswender.

Courtesy photo

"Duvall Group Investigations PLLC has posted the reward," said Kim Turnquist, Niswender’s mother. "The owner, Ryan, has been a family friend for years. We have not hired his services. We are confident that the (Ypsilanti) Police Department will find justice for Julia and my family."

The reward offer comes nearly four months after Niswender was found dead in her apartment on Dec. 11 in Peninsular Place Apartments, off campus in Ypsilanti.

Police ruled the death a homicide in January but have not released details, including how she died.

The flyer states the reward will be given for information "leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or people responsible" for Niswender's death.

"We are just really hoping that this helps spread the word and helps catch whoever did this as soon as possible," said Jennifer Niswender, Julia's twin sister.

Individuals with information are being asked to contact the Michigan State Police at 1-800-SPEAK-UP or the Ypsilanti Police Department at 734-483-9510.

Funds can be donated for distribution costs and flyer costs. Checks or money orders can be sent to the Duvall Group Investigations PLLC at P.O. Box 1822 Monroe, MI 48161, ATTN: Justice for Julia or by calling 1-800-681-0687.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Katrease Stafford

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Hi, We will have a story up momentarily with new details regarding Niswender's death. I just spoke with the family. I will post it here when it's up.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

The family has apparently spoken to Channel 7 and revealed that Julia was found drowned in her bathtub.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

Asphyxia related to drowning was just revealed as the cause of death. Apparently she was found in an unnatural state, and her apartment was disheveled.

Honest Abe

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Here we go again. Fact: NO trauma was found on her body. Fact: Toxicology tests were 'inconclusive'. Also, Michigan law requires in the interest of public health and safety, the reporting to the Medical Examiner of all deaths of persons in the following circumstances: Unexpected infant deaths Deaths while in custody Deaths resulting from abortion Found bodies Deaths in the workplace Deaths during medical procedures, whether diagnostic or therapeutic, in any location, if the reason for the procedure is to treat an injury or if the death is unexpected and/or results from the procedure itself. Deaths which should be reported to the Medical Examiner include: All those which result, either directly or indirectly from injury, whether by accident or intended, self?inflicted or caused by another person. Injury includes poisoning and drug ingestion or injection. The interval (passage of time) between the injury and the death, whether it be minutes or months, does not change the requirement for reporting the death. Unexpected and unexplained deaths of persons presumed to have been in good health or for whom no history of serious medical problems or progressive primary disease is known should also be reported to the Medical Examiner. I truly believe YPD does not know what caused her death. They're treating it as a homicide, until proven otherwise. Hence, nothing has been released pertaining to the COD.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

I think the authorities should quit playing a game of semantics with a nuanced definition of the word "homicide" and tell the public how the young lady died.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

Craig, First, I do think the innocence project provides an important service, however in doing so they have lead the public to believe that there is a giant conspiracy to convict innocent people of crimes just for fun and lock them up for years or life. The statistics I pulled were from the Department of Justice Website, as for saying that I believe the .01 perccent of wrongly convicted person(s) in prison is "acceptable" I clearly point out that it is not; but it is a result of having a criminal justice system ran by human beings. My point being that of the millions of people in prison in our country, our law enforcement officers get it right 99.9 percent of the time. We should always strive to make that 100 percent; but that is never going to happen. Just with any other human endeavor mistakes are made and people screw up. As for you comments about the fire departments, once again take ownership. I have agreed with you on many of your posts about government spending and fire departments. Today you made a silly comment and tried to back track by saying "I am NOT implying", which is exactly what you were doing. If you think our law enforcement officers are locking up people to clear up cases regardless of guilt than come out and say it, if you believe our firefighters are lazy and shouldn't grocery shop of duty come out and say it, stop trying to play both sides of the fence. If you didn't wish to imply anything you simply wouldn't have written such a ridiculous comment, but you chose to because you wanted to imply that you believe the possibility exists that our local law enforcement agencies would arrest an innocent person to merely clear out a case, I disagree. Good Day.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

The Death of Ms. Julia Niswender: The suggestion that she was killed is not supported by facts or information that is released to the public. It will be useful to release the findings in terms of the date and estimated time of her death, and ask people for information when she had contact( such as a phone call, or e-mail) while she was alive. We need to narrow this time framework to trace her journey from life to death. When was she last seen entering her building? That would give a reasonable opportunity to people to recall useful information about persons who may have entered the same building after she had arrived there.


Wed, Apr 10, 2013 : 3:35 p.m.

Thanks for that response. I know the fact that she has lived and the fact that she is reported to be dead.

Angry Moderate

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

How do you know what's supported by the facts when the facts haven't be released?


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

Pretty sure that isn't they Ypsilanti Police Department's phone number

Bob Needham

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Good catch, thanks. That was the number for EMU police. We've changed it to the YPD number.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Craig, Take ownership of your comment, you absolutely "implied" something; you implied that investigators would possibly arrest the wrong suspect in order to clear a case. You need to stop watching so much television and join the real world. The non-sense spread by groups like the innocence project leads people to believe that there is an overwhelming number of wrongly convicted persons behind bars. Depending on the severity of the crime and according to Department of Justice statistics for person(s) arrested and charged with a crime 93-97 percent of those accused plead guilty (statistics change from state to federal system slightly as the State statistics are even higher for guilty pleas) prior to trial. Of the remaining few percentage points the remaining people go to trial and are either found guilty or innoncent. Of the ones found guilty a fraction are actually innocent. So less than .01% is the actual percentage of people arrested, charged, put on trial, found guilty and imprisoned who are actually innocent. While we should always strive to make sure that no innocent person is ever imprisoned this is a system run by humans and lets face it, we mess things up. Too imply that the investigators in this case would intentionally make an arreste to simply clear this case is irresponsible, disrespectful and quite frankly the rantings of a bored malcontent. I guess there wasn't a good Fire Department Story for you to bag on this week.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

The police get enough money as it is now. Look how they work the crimes to get the overtime pay. Over in California the highway cops-CHP--earn up to $480,000 a year! There are many police officers earning over $200,000 a year. Ands then you have all the perks, days off with pay after they fire their weapons and are often cleared a few weeks later. True, you do have places like Detroit where the cops are overworked and under paid but for the most part, being a police officer is a pretty good job all around. More money needs to be spent on pubic programs and parks, The young people need places to go and stay out of trouble, not just leave them on the street and later lock them up. So much money is spent on prisons, police, etc and the parks just go to waste and social programs are lacking.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:31 p.m.

sheepyd, I will once again go on record as to the fire department..... The fire and police are core services of Government. The city short changes those core services and it needs to change. As an Ann Arbor citizen I wish every cent we ever spent on public art went to fire and police instead. I would be willing to see parks go unmowed and compost and recycling reduced to once a month if that were a tradeoff to get more fire and police. They could close the golf courses if that would help. There isn't much I wouldn't forgo to have more fire and police. I also think when the fire department goes to Krogers on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township to grocery shop it mostly negatively impacts their potential response time to the city. I have little doubt that all you will remember is my last statement and label me anti fire department because of it.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

You do understand that a percentage of the people who plead guilty actually aren't, but were intimidated into plea deals?

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

"non-sense spread by groups like the innocence project...." that pretty much sums up your agenda. You seem just fine with innocent people locked up as collateral damage. I happen to think in an imperfect system a guilty person going free is less aggregious than an innocent person locked up. _______ "less than .01% is the actual percentage of people arrested, charged, put on trial, found guilty and imprisoned who are actually innocent...." A rather bizarre claim. It implies you actually know how many innocent people are locked up at any given time. It also implies an assumption that sooner or later all innocent people wrongly convicted are set free. Neither of those things are knowable so your ""less than .01%" number you made up. _____________ " I guess there wasn't a good Fire Department Story for you to bag on this week." I have always supported more fire personnel in here. You cannot find me saying otherwise. My only "anti-fire department" stance is to question the response time from the Kroger's on Carpenter Road in Pittsfield township versus the fire station or perhaps Hillers. That is, without question, the only criticism of the fire department I have made.

perfectly lubricated weather vane

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Reading this story and previous stories, I wonder about the headline writer's choice of the word "killing".


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

True, maybe she just got ill and died. People do die of natural causes, even young adults. Wasn't the autopsy non convulsive on why the death happen ? Maybe another autopsy and more tests are needed. That guy who won the lottery in Chicago and then died a few days later was first ruled a heart attack and then a second autopsy found he was really poisoned. Things get overlook sometimes. Well what else can be done, is this $10,000 reward really going to help ? It took a $100,000 reward to get that freeway shooter last year and a all out task force. I sure hope other police agencies are helping with this investigation.

Joker Man

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

It's terribly difficult for the public to help when they know NONE of the details. It's long overdue for the YPD to release something that describes why they feel this is a homicide.

Joker Man

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

The Reno police were reluctant to release details in the murder of Brianna Denison. Then they finally released the details when they realized they were no longer "hot on the trail". A detail as simple as an extra pair underwear at the scene led the girlfriend of the murderer to turn in her boyfriend as a suspect because she found an unknown pair of underwear in his truck. The details sometimes help.

Basic Bob

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

They don't need the public to solve the crime. They need an actual witness to step forward with details that match what the investigators have already observed. Releasing all this information could result in the police getting phony tips and not being able to tell them from the real tips.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Right. They don't want to release what they do know or what leads them to believe it is a homicide, but we can assume from this they've got nothing.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

This is such a sad state of affairs, How can the public tell, if the public doesn't know how she died. I guess they figure if someone calls and says she was with x and they did y thats how it happened.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

Asphyxia related to drowning....

Katrease Stafford

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

YouAreNotAlwaysRight, The family has not hired a private investigator. The police are still actively investigating the case.


Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

Maybe if they told us how she died or what was involved, then maybe someone out there will recognize something and put the pieces together. Instead they leave it to these private investigators who will get nothing done and just ask for help.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Apr 9, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

I hope justice is served in this case. I just hope the desire to catch the bad guy doesn't morph in to the desire to close the books on the case by sticking somebody with the crime. I am NOT implying anything toward investigators. its just that a lot of time has gone by with no arrest and anybody that tunes in to the news shows like 60 Minutes, 20/20, 48 Hours knows that occasionally innocent people get convicted by a 12-0 jury count and get sent to prison.