Frances Harley Gutnick, a 1980 graduate of John S. Battle High School, was murdered in Charlotte over the weekend. According to a June 19 report on the Charlotte Observer.com, her 18-year-old daughter found the body on Sunday. The 52-year-old victim had wounds from being assaulted, but no exact cause of death has been released.
The suspect in the murder is Gutnick's boyfriend, Jimmy Wayne Estes, 51, who was seriously injured in a car accident in South Carolina on Monday. The police think that he may have been attempting to commit suicide when he crashed into a truck near Fort Mill, S.C. Estes is currently hospitalized and will be arrested and taken into custody upon his release.
Gutnick’s daughter, Kelsey Gutnick, explained that her mother wanted to end the relationship with Estes, who she had been dating for almost six months. She had told her daughter that she had not yet finalized the relationship but she wanted to. Her body was found at her home on a private road that leads from Buckland Road to the Catawba River.
There are numerous comments being posted on Facebook and tagged to Frances Harley Gutnick’s Facebook page as the news is becoming public on Thursday. Photographs from yearbooks and school newspapers are also being shared. Many of her friends from the Tri-Cities are expressing shock as well as sadness at the news of her violent death. After her graduation from John S. Battle High School, Gutnick’s Facebook page profile states that she attended Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon before studying accounting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.