LASALLE, Ill. – A nursing student in Michigan was reportedly kidnapped by an ex-boyfriend-doctor before suffering a fatal gunshot wound to the head in Illinois. The man then called his parents to tell them what he’d done before he took his own life in Iowa.
The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office said 25-year-old Gina Nicole Bryant was a student at the University of Michigan-Flint. She was tragically murdered by Dr. Justin Wendling, 26, of Holly, Michigan, at a gas station in La Salle, Illinois, on Oct. 13, the New York Post reported.
The Sheriff’s Office provided a brief overview of the multi-state sequence of crimes.
The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was notified of a missing person, Gina Bryant, a 25-year-old female from Macomb Township. Coworkers became concerned when she did not return to work following her lunchbreak and they began receiving odd text messages from her phone.
It was suspected that Ms. Bryant was with ex- boyfriend, Justin Wendling, a 26-year-old male from Holly, MI. MCSO investigation revealed that the suspect had been waiting at the victim’s home when she returned for lunch. A neighbor’s surveillance video showed the suspect leading the victim to his vehicle at approximately 1:42PM on 10/12/2023.
On 10/13/2023, the suspect’s parents allegedly received a phone call from the suspect. They alerted law enforcement officials to the location of the suspect and victim in LaSalle, Ill. The suspect also stated he had killed the victim and was going to kill himself.
Tragically, surveillance video and witnesses from a truck-stop in LaSalle, Ill., confirmed that the suspect had shot and killed the victim at approximately 12:00AM on 10/13/2023. The suspect then fled to Bettendorf, Iowa. It was reported to the MCSO that as local officers approached the vehicle, the suspect shot and killed himself.
“Unfortunately, the MCSO is seeing an uptick of Domestic Violence cases. These incidents are tragic not only to the victims & survivors, but to family members as well,” stated Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “Please, if you or someone you know is in an unsafe situation, do not hesitate to reach out.”
La Salle Detective Sgt. Brian Camenisch confirmed that Wendling, a medical resident at Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc Township, “was responsible for the homicide based on our investigation,” The Detroit News reported.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we write this post,” Charlotte Jolly, who described herself as Bryant’s best friend, wrote on Facebook. “The family has suffered an unspeakable and tragic loss due to domestic violence.”
Gina Nicole Bryant was a student at the University of Michigan-Flint. (Gina Bryant/Facebook)
Wendling and Bryant began dating 11 months ago and lived together in Grand Blanc Township, her oldest sister, Angelica Gintner, told The Detroit News.
However, Bryant’s mother and sister moved her out of the apartment in September after she told them that Wendling had been abusing her for months.
“She was very beautiful, down-to-earth, giving woman,” Gintner said. “She could brighten up a day with just her smile. She’d give you the shirt off your back. She was caring and compassionate.”
Bryant was kidnapped and murdered by her ex-boyfriend before he killed himself. (Gabriella Kovalcik/Facebook)
Hospital officials where Wendling worked said in a statement that “Ascension Genesys Hospital has recently learned of the death of one of our residents.
“Emotional and spiritual support services are being offered to staff and providers during this difficult time. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement,” spokeswoman Christine Gleason told The Detroit News.
Wendling’s family declined to comment.
Bryant attended Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights and graduated cum laude in 2016. Afterward, she attended Grand Valley State University and graduated in 2020.
At the time of her death, she was a student in UM-Flint’s accelerated bachelor of science nursing program, school spokesman Robb King confirmed.