MICHIGAN CITY, MI – A tragic incident unfolded as a beloved nursing student from the University of Michigan-Flint, Gina Nicole Bryant, 25, was abducted and killed by her former boyfriend, Dr. Justin Wendling, 26, a medical resident. Wendling shot Bryant in the head at a gas station in La Salle, Illinois, before taking his own life in Iowa, Macomb County Sheriff’s Office reported.
The grim event left Bryant’s family and friends in mourning, with her best friend, Charlotte Jolly, lamenting the tragic loss due to domestic violence. Detective Sgt. Brian Camenisch of La Salle confirmed Wendling’s responsibility for the homicide following the investigation.
Bryant had been reported missing after coworkers became concerned when she failed to return to work as a medical assistant after her lunch break. Unusual messages from her phone added to the alarm. An investigation revealed that Wendling was waiting for her at her residence when she returned for lunch, as captured by a neighbor’s surveillance video. It showed him leading her to his car at 1:42 p.m. that day.
The following day, Wendling contacted his parents, confessing to killing his ex-girlfriend and expressing his intention to take his own life. Authorities were alerted to Wendling’s whereabouts in LaSalle, his hometown. Surveillance footage and witnesses from a truck stop in LaSalle confirmed the fatal shooting at approximately 12:00 a.m. on October 13, 2023. Wendling then fled to Bettendorf, Iowa, where he ended his own life when local officers approached his vehicle.
Bryant had lived with Wendling in Grand Blanc Township for 11 months. However, in late September, her mother and sister moved her out of their shared apartment after Bryant revealed that Wendling had subjected her to months of abuse.
Gintner, Bryant’s oldest sister, described her as a caring, compassionate, and radiant woman who brightened people’s lives with her smile. Wendling’s family declined to comment, but officials from Ascension Genesys Hospital, where he worked, expressed their condolences and cooperation with law enforcement.
Bryant was an exceptional student, graduating cum laude from Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights in 2016 and later completing her studies at Grand Valley State University in 2020. At the time of her tragic death, she was pursuing an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program at UM-Flint.
Nursing school dean Cynthia McCurren conveyed her heartbreak upon learning of Bryant’s passing, acknowledging that there were no words to describe the anguish it caused the community. Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham noted an increase in domestic violence cases and urged individuals facing unsafe situations to seek help without hesitation.