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Posted on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Detectives investigating EMU junior's death: No new information released

By Kyle Feldscher

Investigation into the death of Julia Niswender continues as Ypsilanti police detectives worked through the holiday weekend doing interviews and collecting evidence, police said Thursday.

Thumbnail image for julianiswenderphoto.jpg

Julia Niswender

However, there’s no new information being released to the public, Lt. Deric Gress told

Gress said there was nothing new that could be reported.

“The detective bureau worked over the weekend on the case,” Gress said, “tracking down and interviewing subjects and completing necessary paperwork on some property/evidence.”

Police found Niswender dead at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 11 in her Peninsular Place apartment. Investigators were called to the residence after a suitemate reported Niswender hadn’t been seen for a few days. Ypsilanti police immediately ruled the death a suspected homicide.

There’s been no indication from police on what was found in Niswender’s apartment that led them to rule her death a possible homicide and the results of an autopsy, performed days after she was found, were inconclusive.

The 23-year-old Monroe Township native had no signs of trauma on her body during the autopsy. Police are waiting for the results of the toxicology report, which could take until mid-January.

A message left with the Niswender family’s spokesman was not returned Thursday afternoon.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

For those commenters worried about a homicidal maniac on the lose ... stop. The toxicology report is key...because there were no signs of trauma and the apartment room door was locked. I guess if I were the local drug dealer who made a delivery to that apartment building around that time, I'd be very worried though. Let's see what happens.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:24 a.m.

This whole case has been kind of fishy from the beginning. Were drugs involved here?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4 a.m.

I hope the family has some news soon. The Ypsilanti Police Department is a fine department and I'm sure they will have some news very soon.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

Reporting of Unnatural Death: Many times we read news stories about elderly persons dying at home and being discovered after a lapse of time. This story is about a young, apparently healthy person. The police on their own had stated that they were reasons to call it suspicious. They have not shared the information that initiated an investigation of possible homicide. Her family members have demanded justice as they suspect some kind of 'foul' play. At a minimum, police must issue a statement and tell us that the information is deliberately withheld from public to protect their investigation. If that is the case, it appears that the police are not seeking public cooperation to complete their investigation.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

It's a debacle that we know nothing of this students death. Makes students like me hate walking around campus.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Why is anyone so sure the police have information they are not releasing in the first place? Maybe, just maybe, the scene did not yield any clues. Anybody ever think of that? Scene details in and of themselves aren't always a road map to definitive answers. Did anyone ever consider the more than likely possibility that nothing's been released because isn't anything to release? A girl was found dead. So far, the autopsy isn't even complete yet. Those of you running around worried that the police are withholding information about a mad killer running loose in the community really need to get a grip. Also, asking the general public if they think the police are "doing a good job" with an investigation is like asking me if NASA "did a good job" building the space shuttle. It's pointless, and any answers in response are completely useless and irrelevant.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Release of Information: The release of information would help all people to come forward and give new information about this incident. If the fact of death is concealed, it would not help the inquiry. People very often forget what they may have seen and have casually observed. We should be able to help people to refresh their memories and ascertain as to what they are doing at a precise moment.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

The only rule that moderators follow is "moderators get to make all the rules" and if you disagree, you get deleted, or that helpful message directing you to the Comment on Moderation thread, where your comment can be deleted by someone else.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

The Untold Story: It is very unlikely that she died on December 11, at 9.30 P.M. If she did not die at that time, I as a member of this community must know as to when she really died. This not some rocket science. There are established principles of Forensic Medicine that give us the Time of Death with a fair amount of accuracy. That is the Time that would help the detective to plan his/her investigation of death. I am totally surprised that this young college student has no friend with whom she may have spent some time before her death. When did she make a contact with any living person prior to this Date and Time?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:55 a.m.

Maybe you should take over this investigation.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 6:57 p.m.

The investigation is on going.You don't release that type of info until it is concluded and someone has or has not been charged with a crime


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

explain how i violated any rules, if kyle wants to ask ridiculous questions then he deserves to have readers explain their opinions. please repost my comment as I didn't break any of you guidelines


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Mr. Feldscher, do you really think the police would withhold information about something or someone that posed an imminent danger to the public? That's pretty irresponsible of you to even suggest.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

I appreciate your response, sheepyd. I was just looking to gauge opinion and I do think it's important the police do their investigation. However, I also think it's important to let the public know if they are in danger or if there is a suspect we should be looking out for. I wanted to see if readers were feeling the same way. I don't think that's a ridiculous question.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

sheepy- Please direct any questions regarding moderation to us via email at or the community guideline page linked to at the bottom of the site. Thank you.

Honest Abe

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

The police have not released much, but in a way, they have. No signs of trauma, and they're waiting for toxicology results? Almost seems the police think one thing and the medical examiner, another. Is this some sort of indication that the police and medical examiner may rule the death something else besides a homicide? Also, they haven't even hinted towards a suspect. As each day passes, the odds get slimmer in hopes of making an arrest. The Ypsilanti Police have excellent officers and detectives. They will get to the bottom if this, but if there is someone lurking the streets who they think committed murder, I'd hope they release information ASAP.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

When I heard from Lt. Gress yesterday, he indicated we'd be having a follow up conversation next week when he gets time. Keep an eye on the site, hopefully after that conversation a few more details will be released to the public. I'm curious to readers' opinion on how the YPD has handled the case thus far. Are you satisfied with the amount of information they're putting out or would you expect more given that a few weeks have passed since Julia's unfortunate passing?


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 4:52 a.m.

YPD is a top of the line police department. Please, let them do their job. Not every case is like on the darn TV shows. They will solve this.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.

I think the silly game of semantics the police are playing with the word "homicide" needs to stop. Sure it was an "apparent homicide". But is it more accurate to say it was an "apparent suicide" or an "apparent drug overdose", or "apparently from natural causes"? Or just fill in the blank: "an apparent ________". Just this readers opinion.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

My daughter graduated from EMU last December and was a student there when the last murder happened on campus. So I understand the anxiety a parent would be feeling sending their daughter back to school next week without answers to how this happened. If she were still there, I would be reinforcing all the normal precautionary warnings. Our children, regardless of their ages, have to be so much more aware of what's going on around them these days.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

Justa.....Sorry to be sexist ( ok, no I'm not ) but if I had a daughter that was going to EMU I probably would have moved in with her


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

If it truly was a homicide, I totally understand the amount of information that has been released thus far. It would be unfortunate for the investigation to be compromised just to satisfy public curiosity. At the same time, I can understand a parent's concern not knowing what type of situation might exist for students coming back to town next week. It's a tough one, and hopefully the YPD can come to some conclusions and release more information soon.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

There must be new information if is comfortable conspicuously replacing the initial report of an "apparent homicide" with the now hedged "suspected/possible" homicide.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

I appreciate the update, so thank you! It's strange that there was no outward trauma found on her body. It just isn't adding up right now. Of course, I am not a police officer or a reporter so I will let them do their jobs.

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Thanks for the comment, porchbear. I'm definitely interested in seeing what comes out of the autopsy when it's released. There's a lot of questions yet to be answered in this case.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:20 p.m.

I for one appreciate the update such as it is. Any update on the SUV rollover on south 23 last year with the Minivan?


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Thanks Kyle. Is this typical in a case like this? Or does the lack of information on a high profile case perk your ears up? I understand sweeping things under rugs but it's usually because either you don't want to look at it or you don't want anyone else to.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:35 p.m.

Ooops....sorry Tesla, I didn't read your comment correctly and jumped the gun when you said last year I was thinking 2011

Kyle Feldscher

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Tesla- I actually called over to the Michigan State Police yesterday to try and get an update on this case. There hasn't been any new information released by police and, so far, my attempts to get in touch with the Siegel family have been unsuccessful. I'm hoping to speak with someone 0 anyone - in the MSP about the case sometime before the end of the year. I know there's a lot of interest in this case and I've been trying to talk to people but it seems they aren't interested in speaking with me, unfortunately.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

nobody is finding out anything until the police talk.and they ain't talking.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Paul...I may have jumped the gun again.I need to go back to bed and get more sleep


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Paul....please answer my questions here. A-other than what you have read here what else do you know about this ? and B- what is your expertise in investigations ?.When ever I make a comment popular or not I'm always ready to back it up or defend it


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 3:03 p.m.

Sadly that is how it often is. Too bad they always are not correct and they are mindful of what impact their comments can do to the community. Gotta keep EMU up and running and not scare the students away to other colleges. Explains why they handle the last death they way they did by saying it was no foul play while they were looking for the murderer.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Just so people know my comment was deleted upon my request.It was nothing critical to anyone.I just thought about it and I don't think now is the time

Paula Gardner

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Thanks for considering the impact of your comment. I appreciate that.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

@arieswoman and @sonnydog09: Take a look at the comment from HereAndThere. It's been about a week since the last story, and we know at least some readers are wondering. We'll be touching base with police periodically until more questions are answered. You'll be seeing those updates here.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

well done, Paula.....


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

I find it interesting that nothing has been in the news about the identity of the man floating in Belleville Lake. Not all news is followed up.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:40 p.m. get'em girl


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Sonny....without repeating my comment I'll just say that yesterday I was wondering what the progress or lack of progress was being made.I don't defend very often but in this case I have no problems.

Paula Gardner

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Movies about journalism are about as realistic as movies about police investigations, but thanks for sharing your perspective.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Everyone's a critic. There would either be people asking "whatever happened to ...?" or this, it's a no-win situation. Regardless, I don't remember reading the ETA on the toxicology report before, but I might have forgotten.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

The only thing that I did learn is that detectives are apparently being paid overtime hours to work the case. Rather than wait for whatever tidbits of information the authorities deign to release to you, you could actually do some reporting, instead of simply regurgitating a press release. I saw some actual reporting done in a movie once. They go out and talk to people that know something about the event that is being reported on. They ask the authorities to confirm or deny information that the reporter has gathered. That art does not appear to be practiced any more.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

This just in: There is no news. Film at 11.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 12:04 p.m.

So what is your point in even publishing this article?


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

To let the public know they haven't forgotten about the case


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing at first.... BUT, I guess it answers my question of whether there was any new info, and there's not...which is frustrating!


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

So what is your point in even reading and commenting on this article?

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : noon

" Police are waiting for the results of the toxicology report, which could take until mid-January." Gee whiz on cop shows it only takes 5-10 minutes.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

tdw, your first statement answers your first question rather nicely.


Fri, Dec 28, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Craig....Really ? you can't be serious.Everyone knows that CSI is accurate and factual and can have everthing wraped up in a few days if not need to get out more