Seeking Justice for Justine

From a distance, it seemed like 27-year-old Justine Abshire had everything going for her. The beautiful young woman from Barboursville, Va., was living her dream of teaching a kindergarten class full of children who adored her; a newlywed, she had hopes of having her own children. But this picturesque life met a mysterious death in early November 2006.

Ever since, her family has been seeking one thing: justice for Justine.

According to Justine's husband, Eric, she called him at 1:19 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2006, saying that her car had broken down and that she needed him to come and get her. A road map indicates that she was about five miles from home.

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"I got my [motorcycle and] I went riding down there to see if I could find out what was wrong with her car," said Eric Abshire. When he got there, he said he found Justine lying in the road.

"There are no words to describe it," he said. "That's a situation nobody, unless they've ever lived through it, could describe …I just held her and talked to her."

Abshire says he was overcome with emotion.

"I [sat] there with her. I covered her up with my jacket, and when I finally came to my senses enough I went and called for help."

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Abshire says he ran to several nearby houses and finally found a neighbor who called 911. According to records obtained by "Primetime," the call was placed at 1:57 a.m.

"I didn't even realize that I had my cell phone until probably an hour later."

Soon Justine was declared dead at the scene. Her death certificate indicates that she died from "multiple trauma" caused by "being struck by a motor vehicle." The local and state police had what appeared to be a textbook hit-and-run case.

Marvin's Observations

However, something seemed to be troubling investigators as to the details of how Justine died. Mike Jones of the Virginia State Police, the lead detective on the case, told "Primetime" that something looked "suspicious."

In fact, the suspicions began precisely where Justine's life ended -- on Taylorsville road. Justine's parent's Steven and Heidi Swartz made a trip there looking for clues, and there they met Marvin, a neighbor who came to the scene that night.

(If you have any information about what happened to Justine Swartz Abshire on the night of Nov. 3, 2006, please call 800-572-2260 or 540-829-7400) and CLICK HERE to visit the Justice for Justine Web site.

Marvin told Justine's parents that he did not see any broken glass, skid marks or tire marks on the road in the early morning hours of Nov. 3, 2006. Heidi then asked him if it looked like there was an accident, and Marvin replied, "Not to me it didn't."

The notion that there were no classic signs of a hit-and-run does not sit well with Justine's family, and it troubles the police as well.

"The best way to put it is cases evolve, they begin to make the jump from a traffic case and then into a criminal investigation," said Jones.

Then, Jones tells "Primetime" something that changes the course of the investigation: "Nothing is consistent with a standing pedestrian being struck by a car. I will say based on physical evidence, somebody, or someone caused her death."

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