Family divided after stepfather's child porn charges, named person of interest in murder

"I think linking the two is absolutely crazy. It's ridiculous," says Jennifer Niswender.

Her twin sister, Julia, was murdered back in 2012 while she was a student at Eastern Michigan University. The girls' stepfather, James Turnquist, is now a person of interest in her murder, and has also been recently charged with possession of child pornography. 

"I know for a fact that my dad's innocent. He had nothing to do with my sister," says Jennifer.

But other family members believe Turnquist was involved in the murder. 

"There have been several allegations that he was sexually molesting Julia," says Rose Niswender, Julia's grandmother.

Now there's never been any proof of a sexual relationship between Turnquist and his stepdaughter, yet he is facing felony possession of child pornography. 

"I personally think that because they don't have any other type of leads in Julia's case that they're just digging around and grabbing at straws," says Carrie Niswender, Julia's aunt.

Turnquist appeared in court Tuesday in regards to the child pornography charges. His appearance had nothing to do with his being a person of interest in Julia's murder, but family tells FOX 2 the Ypsilanti Police are still investigating and still believe Turnquist is a person of interest.

"I understand that this is a totally different charge, and really doesn't pertain to Julia's case, but in the long run, it actually really does," says Rose.

Turnquist waived his preliminary exam and he will be bound over for trial on the child pornography charges. The judge also lowered his bond from $100,000 to $25,000, ten percent. That means for $2,500 Turnquist will be out of jail, which worries some family. 

"Longstanding, there's no love lost between he and I, and I do feel that if the opportunity came up he'd harm me," says Rose.

"It's all craziness and it's insane, and I can't tell you what this is doing to our family," says Jennifer.

Turnquist will be back in court March 27. 


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