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Grandmother: EMU coed found dead was 'loving, trusting'

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By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News


YPSILANTI, Mich. (WJBK) -- "I said, 'I love you, and I'll see you later,'" said Jennifer Niswender.

That was Sunday night and the last conversation she had with her twin Julia, a 23-year-old communications major at Eastern Michigan University.  Julia was found dead Tuesday night inside her apartment on Huron River Drive in Ypsilanti.  Her death is being investigated as a homicide.

"I had a feeling.  When you have a twin, you just know, and I was so wishing it wasn't true," Jennifer Niswender said.

"I could feel it in my gut.  I just screamed and screamed and screamed.  I couldn't believe that it was Julia," said grandmother Rose Niswender.

Family and friends are heartbroken and left with a lot of questions since police seem to have little to go on.

The autopsy has been completed, but at this point it isn't revealing much.  Toxicology results are not expected back for three weeks.

Police say Julia's body was discovered inside her locked apartment with no outward signs of trauma, but there were some indicators of foul play.

Her family claims they didn't notice anything missing from her apartment, and they have no idea who would want to harm Julia.

"She was such a loving, trusting person, too trusting, obviously.  She was so full of life," her grandmother said.

"Everybody she touched, everybody she talked to, you just fell in love with her, and justice will be served.  I will make sure," said her sister.

As the family waits for answers from Ypsilanti Police, who say they are following several leads, Eastern Michigan University is taking every precaution and providing counseling for students and extra police patrols on campus.

"I just hope that she is in heaven now and looking down on me, and I'm going to live every day through her," Jennifer Niswender said.

The family is so thankful for the outpouring of support.  They said they have received several phone calls, text messages and Facebook posts to get them through this very difficult time.

If you would like to help with funeral expenses, the family said a fund has been established under Julia Niswender's name.  Donations can be made at any Monroe Bank and Trust branch.

Question and Answer

SHERRY MARGOLIS: Have police told you why they suspect foul play in this case?

ASHER: They're not being specific.  They're just saying indicators at this point and any other detail they're keeping really close to the vest.  Right now, though, police do tell me that this case remains a mystery, a lot of questions.  They brought in Michigan State Police, and right now as they work several leads, they plan to talk to family, friends, coworkers, people she knew, people she lived with... at the Peninsula Place Apartments, anybody that might help bring them the smallest detail to find out what may have happened to Julia.

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