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Posted on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 : 6:17 p.m.

Officials: No new information on EMU student's death

By Kyle Feldscher

Thumbnail image for julia_niswender_facebook_photo.jpg

Julia Niswender

The date police were called to Niswender's apartment has been corrected.

The Ypsilanti Police Department has not released any more information on the death of Eastern Michigan University student Julia Niswender last week, according to an email sent by the university Monday.

Walter Kraft, the university’s vice president for communications, sent out the email to the university community just before 5 p.m. Monday. He said the investigation into Niswender’s death is “active and ongoing” but there is no new information to release.

“At this time, the Ypsilanti police have no new information to report about the status of the investigation,” Kraft stated.

Niswender, 23, was found dead in her bedroom at her Peninsular Place apartment Tuesday night. Investigators have ruled her death suspicious and are treating the case as a homicide.

There’s been no indication on what police might have found at Niswender’s apartment that leads them to believe she was killed. Kraft wrote in the email there were “indications of foul play” but police haven’t released what those indications are at this point.

Police were called to the EMU junior’s apartment at 9:30 p.m. Dec. 11 after friends and family told police she hadn’t been seen for a couple of days. An autopsy has been performed on her body and the results of a toxicology report from the autopsy are pending. It may take two to three weeks for the results from the toxicology report to come in.

Police said there were no outward signs of trauma on Niswender’s body.

Niswender’s funeral was held Monday morning in her hometown of Monroe Township.

Kraft encouraged the university community to sign up for emergency text alerts in Monday’s email and assured the community more information on Niswender’s death would be released when police released it.

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



Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Three weeks later, nearly four weeks after Ms. Niswender was found dead, and still no news? According to this article, that's more than enough time for the results from the toxicology report to come in.


Wed, Dec 26, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

Is there an update on this story? Quite a bit of time has gone by.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Ok everyone making ignorant comments pay attent, specifically Go Navy. The department of education requires that Universities give updates and make timely warnings if there is the "possibility of a threat" not a known threat "possibility". I imagine EMU doesn't want to get hammered with fines like they did a few years ago so they are giving updates so that people don't start complaining about them hiding anything. If the University said nothing people would complain, when they give out whatever information they have, people complain. YPD has said they are awaiting autopsy results, if it turns out not to be homicide then they errored on the side of caution, if they had released no details and called it a suspicious death and then found that it is a homicide the community would be outraged that they "covered something up. So it seems to me and anyone else with a brain that they are trying to say hey we aren't sure yet, but something doesn't see right here, until we know for sure be extra vigilent and we will let you know when we know more, the university has to report what they know, so really the complaint is with the Department of Education and not EMU and I guess if Go Navy thinks he can solve crimes in an hour like on tv he should either start his own police department or shut his mouth.

Sarah MacDonald

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Funny, when my brother died of a under suspicious circumstances of a lethal overdose.....nothing was second glanced is this even right???


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

Easy. Fear was sold fast and early on this one in the form of a scary, nebulous "suspect" who was on the loose in Ypsilanti. I remember people talking about locking up their daughters. I have my own suspicions about what's going on, but what's clear is that they're slowing this down big-time so that, by the time the "official" determinations come out, this incident will have fallen to the back of peoples minds.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

What is the 'Time of Death'??? This story is not acceptable as it fails to perform the basic function called informing the readers. An autopsy was duly performed. There are two parts or aspects of an autopsy examination; 1. Time of Death, and 2. Cause of Death. I can understand that there could be a problem to determine the cause of death. However, the autopsy report cannot be silent about the Time of the Death. If she died, when did she die?


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

No news is ...


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

They continue to walk back claims on this (remember, it was an "apparent homicide" on day 1). Ready, fire, aim has now turned into "what were we aiming at?" I don't know who to fault - the YPD for keeping the entire community on edge with the *suggestion* of a killer on the loose, or for whole-heartedly sucking down the YPD's statements word-for-word without performing much in the way of investigatory journalism. Either way, scare stories sell advertisements. In the meantime, I'm truly sorry that the Niswender family is being dragged through this.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Actually, the Niswender family probably knows what happened. The toxicology report will just confirm what the police have told them probably occured.

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 12:50 p.m.

So this is a news story to let us know that there's no news?


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.


J Matt Shelden

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 5:34 a.m.

Regardless whether a conclusive cause is found or not....I still share this community's outpouring of sympathy for this child's family...her friends...and all other touched by this tragic story.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

YPD will get to the bottom of this. We here have faith in them.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 3:31 a.m.

Thank you for this informative piece. It really provided a lot of updates and answered a lot of questions.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

A toxicology referback usually indicates a drug induced death. It is common for injuries to occur in such drug cases because people fall down and hit things. Whether it was supplied by a friend or was given unknowingly still makes it a terrible tragedy.


Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

Sad but then so much is unknown. Are they 100% certain she was murder ? Deaths can happen for many reasons.

Mary K

Tue, Dec 18, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

From what I can tell, no, they aren't sure. Sometimes deaths are treated as a homicide so the official investigation can legally continue. Keeping the case open allows investigators to pursue new leads and get fresh search warrants. We may discover she died from something other than at the hands of a killer. I pray her family finds answers soon.