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A mystery still surrounds the sentencing of a husband in his wife’s murder: Where are the family’s two small children?

Erin Justice said nothing about his missing son and young stepdaughter during his sentencing Tuesday, where he was given a 47-80 year prison term on second-degree murder and felony firearms charges.

“I was (hoping he would tell where the children are), but I realize how stubborn he is,” said Catherine Doughty, sister of Alicia Fox-Justice, whose badly decomposed body was found in an abandoned house last year.

Maria Miller, spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said, “there is an open and active investigation regarding the children.”

Detroit Police said its investigation into the disappearance of the children is ongoing, but offered few details on the number and locations of searches in the case.

At Justice’s hearing before Wayne Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Trisha A. Gerard said while the sentencing “closes one chapter of this book ... we will continue to seek justice for this family and final closure.”

Gerard told Talon the case is far from over.

Some family members have wondered if the children are in the Atlanta area. Justice was extradited from Georgia in September 2014 to face charges in the murder of his estranged wife.

The last time 6-year-old Kaylah Hunter and 8-month-old Kristian Justice were seen alive was Memorial Day weekend last year when Justice’s friend and his co-defendant, Timothy Jones, told authorities he saw them at the couple’s home on the 18400 block of Ardmore.

Jones faces sentencing Sept. 30 for his role in the case. He’s charged with accessory after the fact after police said he helped to get rid of Fox-Justice’s body.

He told police Justice, 29, told him he had killed his wife on Memorial Day 2014.

“He said they were arguing, he blacked out (and) when he came to, he was shooting,” Jones testified at a court appearance in May.

Fox-Justice, 27, had been shot in the chest, head and thigh area. Her body was found June 9, 2014, in an abandoned house on Penrod near Tireman on Detroit’s west side.

Justice pleaded guilty Sept. 4 after changing his mind several times. He was facing trial on first-degree murder charges.

At Justice’s sentencing Tuesday, Fox’s mother, Travae Fox, told her son-in-law her family has suffered physically and mentally as a result of losing Alicia Fox-Justice at the hands of her husband.

Travae Fox said Justice preyed on her daughter “at the most darkest moment in her life.”

Crying at times, Travae Fox said her daughter was “so full of hope and love,” put Justice on a pedestal and connected him with a loving family.

“In return, he stole life from the very person that shared and hoped for a lifetime with him,” Travae Fox said. “I feel he pacified my daughter with artificial love. He has destroyed so many lives from family, friends and association of friends who loved my daughter and grandchildren immensely. This devil disguised himself as an angel ... came right in our homes and ate from our plates and drank from our glasses.”

Gerard said: “The irony that this defendant’s last name is Justice has never escaped me once.”

“There is no justice in this case for this family.

Travae Fox said Justice and Jones will “reap what they sow.”

Next week, Doughty said she will meet with the police for an update on the investigation into the children’s disappearance.

Doughty said Fox-Justice loved her children and was like a mom to her.

The family has conducted its own searches and passes out fliers with the children’s faces on them whenever they got a tip on social media.

“I really believe they’re out of town with someone,” she said.

Doughty described Kaylah as a “happy little girl” and kind of a tomboy.

“She loved shoes. I guess she got that ... from me,” she said.

Little Kristian was still an infant who mostly slept. The baby was seen in a room not far from his mother’s lifeless body after she was murdered, according to Jones.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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