Julia Niswender

Family demands answers five years after college student found drowned in bathtub near bloodied gloves

No arrests have been made nearly five years after Eastern Michigan University student Julia Niswender was found dead with her clothes cut off in the bathtub of her off-campus apartment.

According to M Live, authorities determined the 23-year-old’s cause of death was asphyxiation associated with drowning. Police noted that Niswender was deprived of oxygen before being placed in her tub.

A pillowcase and keys were missing from her ransacked room and police reportedly spotted bloody gloves on the floor.

The victim’s stepfather, James Turnquist, was identified early on in the investigation as a person of interest. The Detroit Free Press reported, however, that he’s passed two polygraph tests and no DNA links him to the crime scene.

Though DNA from the gloves provided no answers, seminal fluid found on Niswender apparently belonged to a male who had undergone a vasectomy. Rose Niswender, the victim’s grandmother, told officers that Turnquist had the procedure after the birth of his first child, according to the newspaper.

Additionally, authorities determined that the gloves had DNA belonging to two men: The first sample was too weak to determine anything other than it belonged to a male and the other didn’t match Turnquist, M Live reported in 2015.

Turnquist was identified as a person of interest in 2015, after being charged with child pornography during an investigation related to the murder.

Police said the case is still being investigated despite Turnquist being cleared and no other charges being filed.

“A part of me, as more time goes on, is starting to lose some hope and I really don’t like feeling like that,” Jennifer Niswender, Julia’s twin sister, told M Live on Tuesday.

“And I’ve tried to stay hopeful as much as I can, but the more time that passes and we don’t receive any news or any updates from the police department, it’s very tough to handle.”

“You know whenever they do catch this person or whatever they do in the end, it still doesn’t bring my sister back.”

Anyone with information about the December 11, 2012, murder of Julia Niswender is urged to contact the Ypsilanti Police Department at 734-482-9847.

[Featured Image: Julia Niswender/Facebook]