COLFAX (CBS13) — The mother of Justine Vanderschoot is calling for justice tonight ahead of a parole hearing that could set one of her daughter’s killers free.
In 2003, 17-year-old Justine was strangled and buried alive in a high-profile murder case that stunned our area. Her boyfriend and his roommate were convicted of the heinous crime.
The family is also sharing new details about the plot that led to their daughter’s murder, as convicted killer Brandon Fernandez prepares to ask for his release.
“Just to see him, hear his part of the involvement, just his voice, it’s going to be a challenge,” Justine’s mother Lynnette Vanderschoot said.
“I don’t feel that he has any remorse because I haven’t seen it and he hasn’t shown it,” Justine’s sister Christine Vanderschoot said.
It is another step on a painful journey for the Vanderschoot family.
“It’s just the emotions again it’s just all coming up again,” Lynnette Vanderschoot said.
Justine Vanderschoot’s mother and sister, nearly 15 years later, are re-living the murder that took the bright-eyed 17-year-old too soon at the hands of her own boyfriend Daniel Bezemer and his roommate Brandon Fernandez.
Both plead guilty to murder in 2003. Fernandez to a 15-year-to-life sentence. His parole hearing is set for Sept. 1.
CBS13 reported extensively on what began as a search for Justine and spoke to Lynnette Vanderschoot in the first days her daughter was missing.
“We’re going to find her, she’s going to get away,” Lynnette Vanderschoot said in August 2003.
Justine’s body was found two weeks later, in a shallow grave in Applegate. She had been strangled and buried alive.
Now, the family is sharing new details from the case that never went to trial.
They said investigators learned the convicted duo had dug the hole where they buried Justine two weeks before the murder and that they had tapped the family’s phone line nine months earlier, listening to calls Justine was making. They thought she was planning a break-up.
“All along, even before it happened, they were listening to all of our conversations,” Lynnette Vanderschoot said.
Now cherished family photos help recall the joy Justine brought to the world and serve as the inspiration to keep her killers locked up.
“Its gonna be my family’s fight for the rest of our lives,” Christine Vanderschoot said.
On Saturday the family is holding a candlelight vigil at the interstate 80 Clipper Gap “Park and Ride.” It’s where Justine’s missing truck was first spotted back in 2003.
The family will have petitions to sign that will be handed to the parole board as part of their effort to prevent Fernandez’s release.