Justice for Justine

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

November 2, 2007

The Swartz has one message “Justice for Justine. Saturday they're holding a vigil in the town of Orange hoping to remind people there are still unanswered questions and anyone with information should come forward.

“Every parent’s nightmare 3 a.m. phone call, your daughter is dead,” Steven Swartz, Justine’s father said describing that morning one year ago that changed their life forever.

“The first thing we did was call our daughter Lauren and tell her which was probably the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make,” said Justine’s mother, Heidi Swartz.

The Swartz’s had lost their oldest daughter in a hit and run accident. Her body was found in the middle of Taylorsville Road after one in the morning by her husband Eric Abshire.

Rrom the moment the Swartz got that first phone call from the scene they questioned their daughter's fate.

“Things didn't add up, they didn't seem plausible,” said S. Swartz.

Eric Abshire told police he was on his way to pick up his wife after her car had broken down, but when he arrived he found her dead hundreds of feet away from her vehicle.

But how did car trouble turn fatal?

“She knew he was on the way why would she ever get out of her car,” asked Justine’s mother.

More questions from the grieving parents kept coming.

“She would have had to have left car left the car open, left her jacket in the car, left her keys in the car, left her purse in the car and walked some 600 feet around a corner out of sight of her car,” said S. Swartz.

He wondered why Justine was out so late in the first place when she had to teach kindergarten the next morning in Culpeper. He was told his daughter and her husband had fight and she went for drive.

“We just simply want the truth and we don't want part of the truth we want all of it,” Justine’s father said.

State Police haven't given the Swartz many details on their daughter's case, but tell them the investigation is right where it should be.

Justine's father says he has one hundred percent faith in the state police and believes they will get answers to all of their questions soon.

“She was a really remarkable young woman and she didn't deserve to die,” explained H. Swartz.

Justine's parents want to emphasize everyone is welcome to attend Saturday's vigil whether you knew Justine or not. They say this will be a time to remember her life, not her death.

The vigil begins at 6:00 p.m. at Taylor Park in Orange.


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