DULUTH, Ga. -- For more than seven years, his parents have waited for information: What happened to Justin Gaines? His parents describe it all as "a bad video that goes over and over and you don't know what happened." Now, they're hoping someone takes a look at new evidence and come forward with the answer to a simple question: where is their son?
Plea from mom
Before he went out Thursday night November 2, 2007; Justin Gaines told his parents he'd be home before he headed to work Saturday. He was going to WIld Bills in Duluth for Thirsty Thursday College Night. It was a regular party spot for him and his friends.
"Friday I wasn't worried," Erika Wilson told 11Alive's Vinnie Politan. "On Saturday, when he didn't show up to make money -- because Justin didn't miss money -- I started getting really, really worried. My gut said something isn't right."
That gut also tells her there are people who were at the club who haven't come forward with everything they know about the night Justin disappeared: "There's people holding back stuff, you know. But, I mean, there's a lot of people there. Someone saw something, or knows something in my opinion."
She, and some of Justin's other family and friends, returned to the scene every Thursday for more than two months. "We went on Thursday nights, figuring it was the same crowd," Wilson said. They never found the answers they were looking for.
Now, she issues a new plea, still desperate for answers: "Think hard. This is what Justin looked like. Try to recall. Did you see him? Who'd you see him talking to? Do you remember anything?"
New video released
Exterior surveillance video shows college student Justin Gaines outside Wild Bill's on November 2, 2007. That video was released to the media and received air time in the seven years since he was last seen. It hasn't answered the question about what happened to him that night. Now, for the first time, we're seeing video from inside the club.
Criminal investigator Charles Mittelstadt and former detective Mike Brooks watched the video with 11Alive News.
The two are still trying to track down witnesses. "Over 2,000 throughout that night in and out of the club, so somebody had ot have seen something or heard something. But maybe they didn't know what they were seeing, that's why doing this is important," Brooks said.
They're focused on what some witnesses said was an altercation on the dance floor earlier in the night. "From what we know about this confrontation, it was diffused in the club, but it doesn't mean that there wasn't some kind of secondary event that occurred," Mittelstdt said. "That's why these witnesses become so important to understand whether there was another flash point after, outside the club. Maybe one of more people were waiting, lying in wait, we just don't know."
24 phone calls in 1 hour
The outside surveillance video captures the final moments captured before Justin Gaines disappeared. He was talking on the phone while walking out of the bar. Those phone calls became a central part of the police investigation. In that final hour, he made 24 phone calls.
"We were able to identified every single call made in the last 30 minutes. Basically, there was a flurry of activity," Gwinnett County Sgt. Troy Tobler said. "People that we spoke too that he actually talked to [said] he was calling for a ride. It was something that had been done before. He was just trying to get someone to come get him."
No one he spoke with that night was able to come pick him up. "He didn't say anything that would have lead any of them to believe his life was in danger or that he was intending on walking off," Sgt. Tobler said.
At 2:00 am, his phone went dead. "We never heard form the phone again," Sgt. Tobler said.
"He seemed to drop off the face of the earth," Justin's father, Richard Gaines said. "Somebody knows or saw something."
Whoever that is still has not come forward. Seven years later, investigators still have no idea what happened to Justin Gaines that night.
"At the beginning I thought we'd be able to locate Justin Gaines fairly quickly," Gwinnett County Sgt. Troy Tobler.
It remains an open case.
Do you know what happened to Justin Gaines? Help bring closure to his family. SHARE his story on your Facebook page. If you have information for police, contact the Criminal Investigation Section of the Gwinnett County Police: (770) 513-5300. The family and their private investigator have also set up a hotline where tipsters can remain anonymous: 877-270-9500