HOW DID AN ADORED KINDERGARTEN TEACHER AND WIFE END UP DEAD ON A ROAD? "PRIMETIME: CRIME" AIRS WEDNESDAY, JULY 30 ON ABC
Twenty-seven-year old Justine Abshire seemed to have everything going for her. She had a close-knit family, lived her dream of teaching kindergarten and was a newlywed with hopes of having her own children. When her picturesque life ended in a sudden and confusing death, the quiet town of Barboursville, Virginia sought answers to what had happened. In the early morning hours of November 3, 2006, Justine was found dead at the side of a lonely country road. Her death was initially ruled a hit-and-run, but many, including police, believe that something more sinister occurred that night. Her husband of five months, Eric Abshire, was the one who found Justine lying on the road. But his memory of that night, along with his behavior before and after, led many to suspect that he wasn't telling the whole story. Is this a case of a town desperate to find a scapegoat, pointing the finger at someone who is completely innocent? Or could this young man have gotten away with the perfect murder? Eric Abshire speaks out for the first time and addresses all the scrutiny. Jay Schadler reports on "Primetime: Crime," WEDNESDAY, JULY 30 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC.
That fateful day, Justine's husband says he received a call from her at 1:19 a.m., saying her car had broken down and that she needed him to come and get her. "I went riding down there to see if I could find out what was wrong with her car," Eric explains to Schadler. "I turn onto Taylorsville Road. I saw something in the road, which I assumed was an animal, and as I got closer, I realized it was Justine in the road." Her death certificate explains 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, but this is now being more closely investigated by the Virginia State police. Schadler speaks with Mike Jones, the lead detective about why there are still questions. Jones tells Schadler, "It wouldn't be prudent to get into specifics, but there [were] a lot more questions than answers when we departed the scene that, that morning."
The notion that there was no obvious evidence of a hit-and-run clearly doesn't sit well with the Swartz family, and there are many other things that just don't seem to add up. A young woman described as scared of even her own shadow and who didn't like to drive alone at night is suddenly found lying dead on the side of a street, six hundred feet away from her car, around a bend. One neighbor near the scene of the crime tells Justine's parents that he didn't see any broken glass, skid marks or tire marks on the road, and that the scene of the crime didn't look to him like there had been an accident. "She wasn't even near her car. And she knew that I was on the way to get her, which made even less sense," Eric explains to Shadler. He denies harming his wife and says he too is anxious to solve the mystery of what happened to Justine. "Primetime" reports on the evidence and the trail of suspicion that continues to follow Eric.
David Sloan is the executive producer.