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Abshire's Parents Look for Answers

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Nearly two years after the death of a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher from Barboursville, questions about her death remain unanswered.

Justine Abshire's parents are in Charlottesville this week searching for the truth about their daughter's death.

Abshire's husband found her dead on the side of Taylorsville Road in Orange County in 2006. Police now call her death "suspicious."

Steve and Heidi Swartz, Abshire's parents, are attending Charlottesville's "Fridays After Five" to hand out "Justice for Justine" bracelets. They're encouraging anyone who knows any piece of information about their daughter's death to come forward.

The narrow country road where Abshire's husband found her dead is now decorated with memories. Every time Abshire's parents visit the area from Tennessee, they return to the scene. As you can imagine, it's never easy.

"It's always a little bitter-sweet, I guess," said Steve Swartz.

Heidi Swartz added, "On the one hand it's a horrible place to be; on the other hand it's a really good place to be."

Abshire's parents used to visit Virginia to spend time with their daughter; now they come to meet with investigators, hoping to learn more about the night their daughter died.

"She suffered a massive amount of injuries, and those injuries occurred before any impact with a vehicle. They don't feel she was a standing pedestrian. Clearly my daughter was murdered," said Heidi Swartz.

In November it'll be two years since Abshire's death, and while police aren't necessarily calling this a murder investigation, Taylorsville Road is no longer just the scene of a hit-and-run.

"We're investigating a suspicious death," said Sergeant F. L. Tyler with the Virginia State Police.

State police say no matter how big or small they're investigating every lead they get. "Regardless of how insignificant they think they're knowledge of this case is, that little piece of information might help in the bigger puzzle in solving this case," Tyler said.

A year and eight months later, Justine's parents are remembering what kind of woman she was. "Shy, funny, big-hearted, vulnerable, maybe a little naïve," said Heidi Swartz.

And waiting for even just a glimmer of hope that will come from having answers about her death.

Abshire's parents have been suspicious of Justine's husband, Eric Abshire. But he has never officially been a considered suspect in this case.

Reported by Christina Mora
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