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Apparent suicide

Jeff Price's body found near South Carolina border

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Posted: Sunday January 02, 2000 11:57 PM


MARSHVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- A man found shot to death near the South Carolina border Sunday appeared to be the estranged husband of the woman who unsuccessfully sued Charlotte Hornets owner George Shinn.

Investigators preliminarily identified the body as that of Charlotte podiatrist Jeff Price, Union County Sheriff Frank McGuirt said Sunday.

"All indications are that it was a suicide," McGuirt said.

The body, which had a gunshot blast to the head, was located Sunday by deputies after being spotted overhead by a private pilot participating in the search for Price, who was last seen alive Tuesday. A .410-gauge shotgun was found next to the body, McGuirt said.

The body was taken to Monroe for identification by the county medical examiner, who also will determine the official cause of death and whether an autopsy is needed.

The body was found about 50 feet from the South Carolina line and about half a mile from where Price's 1994 Camaro was found last week in an isolated area of Chesterfield County, S.C., McGuirt said.

Leslie Price, Price's wife, accused Shinn of forcing her to have sex with him in his Tega Cay, S.C., home in 1997. The couple said the two-year legal battle, which Leslie Price lost last month, strained their marriage and drained the family financially.

Mrs. Price said Sunday that she last spoke to her husband the night before his disappearance. He did not seem distraught when he called her and told her he would see her and their 3-year-old daughter Tuesday, she said.

"He was the best man. He had a big heart and he loved his family," she said. "Everything just got to be too much for him."

Price's relatives said he had been despondent over business and marital struggles before he was last seen Tuesday at his parents' home in Monroe.

A broadcast report quoting the Chesterfield County sheriff late last week said that Price bought a gun Tuesday morning and that officers found a box of ammunition in the car with three shells missing, but not the gun.

Family members on Wednesday found some notes in his room expressing sadness about circumstances of his life.

Price quit his podiatry practice in October because federal investigators had stopped Medicare reimbursements. He performed podiatry services for residents at dozens of nursing homes, then billed federal Medicaid and Medicare programs for payment.

Price recently surrendered his license for prescribing controlled substances. As part of the dispute with Shinn, Leslie Price admitted illegally using her husband's credentials to obtain drugs.

Price recently took a job selling cars at a Charlotte dealership, but quit.

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