Police: Man charged in ex-girlfriend's death dies at hospital - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Police: Man charged in ex-girlfriend's death dies at hospital

Frances Harley Gutnick (Source: Facebook) Frances Harley Gutnick (Source: Facebook)

The ex-boyfriend of a woman who died from an apparent assault on Sunday night in southwestern Mecklenburg County has died at the hospital.

Fifty-one-year-old Jimmy Estes was arrested in Fort Mill on Monday afternoon after a head-on collision. Charlotte-Mecklenbury Police say he died in the hospital just before 8 p.m. on Thursday.

According to the friend, Estes suffered a brain injury from the collision. She said he was taken off life support.

Police in Charlotte had planned to arrest Estes for the murder of 52-year-old Frances Harley Gutnick who died over the weekend in an apparent assault.

Police say Gutnick died from trauma, but it isn't clear what caused the injuries.

Gutnick's 18-year-old daughter told WBTV she found her mother's lifeless body in her home in the 7000 block of Buckland Road shortly after 11 p.m. on Sunday.

"She was the sweetest lady I ever met" Kelsey Gutnick said. "She didn't have a mean bone in her body. She always had a smile on her face and she was beautiful."

Piedmont Natural Gas said Frances Gutnick worked as a financial analyst in the Utility Operations.

Kelsey Gutnick said her mother and Estes dated for about six months, but the relationship became strained, and was on and off the last month.

She said Estes never physically assaulted her mother before, but was verbally abusive.

Kelsey Gutnick said she saw Estes on Sunday and "He was acting very strange, very quiet, very crazed."

After the victim's body was found Sunday night, police evidently started looking for Estes.

Officials say Estes stole Gutnick's car, which he wrecked Monday afternoon when he was involved in a collision with a dump truck near Knight Stadium in South Carolina.

Officials told WBTV that the wreck was an "intentional act" - and that Estes was apparently trying to commit suicide but he survived for several days. 

Estes was transported to a hospital in Charlotte with critical injuries before dying Thursday evening. 

WBTV has learned Estes' immediate relatives - his mother, father, sister and brothers - were allowed to visit him Thursday afternoon. It was the first time they saw him since he was injured in the crash.

Police essentially had Estes in custody while he was in the hospital and didn't permit visitors, according to the family.

Officers had signed an arrest warrant against Estes for murder and said he would be served if he was released from the hospital.

A woman who said she has known Estes for almost 25 years, and was in a relationship with him 14 years ago, said she's in "shock and couldn't believe" the news when she heard it.

She said she'd never known him to do anything such as what he has been accused of.

The friend, who asked that her name not be used in the report, acknowledged that Estes had been arrested before but she never thought of him as a hardened criminal.

She described him as a "good ole boy who likes to go out and dance and be around friends."

Police are asking anyone with information to call 704-432-TIPS or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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