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Cold Case Spotlight

UPDATE COLD CASE SPOTLIGHT: Julia Niswender

UPDATE (March 4th, 2015):

The stepfather of Julia Niswender has been named a person of interest in her murder, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Ypsilanti Police Department.

James Turnquist is currently in custody in the Monroe County jail on an unrelated child pornography charge. The details of that case have not been released. Ypsilanti Police said in the statement they are aware of the charges and believe he has knowledge pertaining to his step-daughter's death.

"This is due to the fact that he has not provided detectives with a formal statement as to his whereabouts the days prior to Julia's death, thus making him a person of interest," police said in the statement.

Niswender was found dead in her off-campus apartment on December 11th, 2012. Investigators said they believe she was asphyxiated and then placed into her bathtub, where she drowned.

ORIGINAL STORY (February 22nd, 2015):

The afternoon of December 11th, 2012, police in Ypsilanti, Michigan were called to perform a welfare check on Eastern Michigan University senior, Julia Niswender, as her friends became concerned after they hadn't seen the bubbly 23-year-old in several days.

What police found was nothing short of tragic. Niswender was found dead in the bedroom of her off-campus apartment. The cause of death was ruled asphyxiation by drowning, and investigators said they immediately treated the case as a homicide investigation.

Niswender was a budding broadcast journalist, and one month before her death, she had traveled to New York City to tour several major broadcasting networks. She was extremely close with her twin sister, and her mother told NBC affiliate NBC24 that Julia was a true light in the world.

"There was something very special about her. She was so full of life," Kim Turnquist said.

Detectives said they believe someone out there knows something that can help crack the case. Officials haven't released any more information as to if they believe Julia knew the person who killed her.

In October 2014, Julia's family joined the efforts to help find missing Michigan 22-year-old Chelsea Bruck. Julia's twin, Jennifer Niswender, frequently posted on the 'Help Find Chelsea Bruck' Facebook group. Last December, Julia's family joined the families of Chelsea Bruck and Chelsea Small to honor the three girls and provide support for one another. Chelsea Small was shot and killed during a robbery while working at a local cash advance store in Taylor, Michigan. Chelsea Bruck vanished on October 26th from a Halloween party, and remains missing at this time.

If you have any information that can help bring justice for Julia, please call the Ypsilanti Police Department at (734) 483-9510. You can also visit the 'Justice for Julia Niswnder' Facebook page for more information on Julia's case.