Cold Case: Justine Elizabeth Swartz Abshire

Justine Swartz Abshire
Justine Swartz Abshire

In the early morning hours of November 3, 2006, 27-year-old Justine Abshire called her husband Eric at 1:19 a.m. to say that her car broke down on Taylorsville Road in Barboursville, VA near the Greene County line. He hopped on his motorcycle to get her. When he got to her, she was dead. Forgetting he had his cell phone, he ran to nearby homes looking for someone to call 911. The call was placed at 1:57 a.m. When authorities arrived, they declared her dead at the scene. The victim of multiple trauma from being struck by a vehicle.

Justine was a Kindergarten teacher at Emerald Hill Elementary in Culpeper. She was working on her Master’s Degree at the University of Virginia. She had been married to Eric for about five months and was a step-mother to his two children.

Soon after her death, the investigation took another route. Justine’s death was ruled a homicide.

Mike Jones of the Virginia State Police, the lead detective on the case, thought that things did not add up. He told Primetime Live, 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.”

Her parents also thought that the circumstances around her death seemed strange. Justine was rather skittish and did not like to drive alone at night. She was also found 200-300 yards from her car – where she had left her keys, coat and purse and had the trunk open. If she was waiting for her husband to get her, then why didn’t she wait in the car? And when investigators checked her 2002 Ford Mustang, there was nothing wrong. “Car was working,” Jones said. ” We since had it looked at by certified technicians, and that was found to be no mechanical defect.” The following May, police indicated that Justine had suffered a massive amount of blunt force trauma, none consistent with being hit by a car.

Eric has refused to take a lie detector test. He also has a emergency order of protection against him filed by the mother of his children. According to the documents filed, there are “reasonable grounds exist to believe that [Abshire] has committed family abuse.”

Two months after the accident, a worker at a local storage unit found a stolen black Ford Expedition in an open, unrented unit. Just before that vehicle was reported stolen, a local dealership employee said that Eric had looked at that vehicle, just five days before Justine was killed.

If you have any information on this crime, please call Special Agent Mike Jones at 800-572-2260 or 540-829-7400.

ABC News: Seeking Justice for Justine
Justice for Justine
The Hook: Family abuse? On Primetime’s eve, woman files on Abshire
The Hook: NEWS- Closing in? Foul play now cited in Abshire death
The Hook: Justice for Justine: The reward is boosted as new clues surface in the unsolved killing of Justine Swartz Abshire

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