NBC26 Special Report: Justice for Julia
By Cassandra Duvall. CREATED Jul 23, 2013
GREEN BAY -- It's a mother's mission to find the people responsible for her daughter's death.
Julia Sumnicht died in 2010 while on spring break in Miami. The cause of death, a lethal dose of GHB, more commonly known as the "date rape drug."
Her mother, Marie, says she won't stop until someone is held accountable.
“It has to be one of those things, a parent can't even imagine,” said Marie. “You can't even go there.”
Her life changed on March 15th. 2010.
“I still remember the time, it was 10:38. We heard knocking on the door. Their very first words were, we found your daughter's body,” she said.
A spring break trip to Miami, 21 year-old, Julia, would never return from. Her body was found in a bed. The UW-La Crosse student and aspiring model was staying with a photographer friend and another model.
Her family was left wondering, what could have happened that night after Julia returned from a club.
“Julia was not a drinker and Julia was not a drug user,” said her mother.
After months, investigators finally reviled the cause of death.
“She had GHB in her blood stream. An extraordinarily high dose, triple what would be considered a legal dose,” said Marie.
The question now, who gave that to Julia? It’s a question her mother says is still unanswered.
“Her life was taken from her, and no one has paid the penalty yet. And our drive is to make sure those people pay the penalty for what they've done,” said Chris Catania, the private investigator the Sumnicht family hired to find those responsible.
It's been three years with no arrests, but Marie, is still fighting. She just returned from a trip to Miami last week, meeting with state prosecutors and NBC Dateline.
This past weekend, Marie and her friends ran in the Door County half-ironman, as a fundraiser so they can continue paying for private investigators.
“I'm going to be thinking about Julia the whole time,” said Marie. “Every obstacle I face, I’m going to climb that hill, climb that mountain for her.”
She has the end goal in sight.
“We're going to finish this case and bring Julia the deserved justice,” she said.
You can help by sending donations to: Marie Sumnicht, PO Box 33091, Green Bay, WI 54303 Checks can be made to: Marie Sumnicht/Justice for Julia