RACINE — Police have identified a woman who was found dead Thursday morning in the 1000 block of North Memorial Drive.
Racine police on Friday identified the woman as Veronica M. Estes, a 35-year-old Racine resident. Police said that two men, Hurdis Burns and Marco Verdiguel-Huarota, have been arrested on pending felony charges of hiding a corpse in Estes’ death.
Besides traffic violations, Burns has a 2011 conviction for theft of movable property, a 2005 conviction for resisting or obstructing an officer and a 1994 conviction for bail jumping, online records show.
Verdiguel-Huarota faced a 2005 charge for disorderly conduct, but no other convictions than traffic violations.
At about 10:08 a.m. Thursday, police were advised of Estes’ death, which was reportedly suspicious in nature, according to a news release issued Thursday evening.
The Police Department’s Major Crimes Squad was activated and responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.
As of Friday morning, the investigation was active and ongoing, police stated.
Angela McClure of Racine went to Walden III High School with Estes and described her as a “sweet girl who loved life,” but struggled with her mental health and addiction issues.
“She was always struggling with addictions and was always very up and down with her emotions and moods,” McClure said.
McClure believes that Estes’ death may have been caused by a heroin overdose because she knew that two men that Estes had been associated with are known heroin users.
“She was a beautiful, tortured soul,” McClure said. “I think she self-medicated in the only way she knew how.”
McClure said the last time the two saw each was five years ago.
“She was a beautiful person with a kind soul and a good heart,” McClure said. “She will be missed.”
Police investigators are interested in any additional information that anyone may have about this incident. Any witnesses or citizens with information are urged to call the Racine Police Department Investigations Unit at 262-635-7756.
Those wishing to remain anonymous may contact Crime Stoppers at 262-636-9330, or text 274637 (CRIMES). Text message should begin with RACS.
“She was a beautiful person with a kind soul and a good heart. She will be missed.” Angela McClure, describing Veronica Estes
RACINE — The colorful interior of Bull Fine Arts Elementary School was packed with current and former students on Friday, all there to say a formal farewell to the 104-year-old building.
Racine Unified will continue the school’s curriculum next year at Gilmore Fine Arts, but the Bull building, 815 DeKoven Ave., will no longer host classes.
Isabella Perez, a current Horlick High School student and a Fine Arts alumna, was one of the hundreds on Friday night milling the halls and checking out the student artwork that covers much of the wall space at the school. The Fine Arts building stands out among Unified schools for the volume of colorful creative student works that are displayed.
“It’s sad that future children won’t be able to go here, but it’s fun that it’s expanding and that other children of older ages get to experience what the school has to offer here,” Perez said.
The special curriculum at Fine Arts was implemented in 1975 and focuses on vocal and instrumental music, dance and movement education, visual arts, creative dramatics and library science. Next year, the curriculum taught at the K-5 Bull Fine Arts school will be moved and expanded to Gilmore Fine Arts K-8. Unified has not yet decided what will happen to the Bull building after the move.
Sarah Kveton and Jeremy Nitz, both former Fine Arts students, browsed through old photos from their time at the school and talked about good times in the building during a farewell event on Friday evening hosted by the Fine Arts parent teacher association.
“Even now, seeing all the artwork that’s up, there’s still some stuff from when we were in school, which is really cool,” Nitz said. “You can of course move some of that stuff, but it’s not the same.”
Kveton added that the murals cannot be moved.
Several of the murals were painted by David Holmes, a former art teacher at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Holmes died in 2014.
Holmes’s son, Fritz Holmes, remembers his father creating some of the murals at the school when Fritz was a student there in the 1990s.
“I always wished when I was a kid growing up that I could get my kids to go here, but they’re not going to have an opportunity to go to this school,” Holmes said.
Raena Karolus, David Holmes’ daughter and an art teacher at Jerstad- Agerholm, said it saddens her that the building will no longer host Fine Arts.
“This school is a part of Fine Arts and then it’s going to a place with no windows and no beautiful Holmes murals,” she said. “But it’s nice to be here and see all the old friends and teachers and reminisce.”
Lisa Johnson, a former art teacher at the school who taught there for more than 30 years, spent Friday night chatting with and embracing her former students.
“It was just a real special place with a very family feel,” she said.
Johnson recalled that back in the old days she and a few of the other teachers would sneak onto the roof to eat lunch on nice spring days.
“What I’m definitely going to miss about our school here is just the smaller environment,” said Principal Zach Jacobsmeier. “It’s a very close, tight-knit family that has a lot of tradition and a great reputation with our program here in the building.”
Jacobsmeier said he feels very positive about the move to Gilmore, 2330 Northwestern Ave.
“I think it’s going to be tough,” he said. “Transition and change is tough, but I feel really good about it.”
While former students and teachers shared memories about the school, current students played in a bounce house in the gym and painted rocks that will be displayed at Gilmore next year.
“It was just a real special place with a very family feel.” Lisa Johnson, former art teacher at Bull Fine Arts School
RAYMOND — A Raymond man is dead following a single-vehicle rollover crash that occurred here Thursday night.
At 10:09 p.m. Thursday, Racine County deputies and Raymond fire crews were dispatched to the 3900 block of West Highway K for a rollover crash, according to a Racine County Sheriff’s Office release issued Friday. A witness reported hearing the crash and found the driver lying next to the vehicle.
Deputies arrived on scene and found a car lying on its side in a yard. The car had driven through two utility poles and struck a large rock. It appeared that the car had rolled at least once, ejecting the driver.
The operator and lone occupant of the vehicle was a 21-year-old man from Raymond. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officials say speed appears to be a factor in the crash and the driver was not wearing a seat belt.
The Sheriff’s Office said Friday that it would not release the name of the deceased man until family has been notified.
YORKVILLE — A 44-year-old Kenosha man, who had just purchased an SUV earlier in the day, rolled the vehicle Wednesday night on Interstate 94 and is now facing an operating under the influence charge, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office is reporting.
At about 7:46 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies and fire crews were dispatched to a single vehicle rollover crash on northbound I-94 near the 335.9-mile marker, just south of Highway 11.
Once on scene, deputies learned that the 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer was traveling north in the left lane of the Interstate when it lost control, crossed all three lanes of traffic, left the Interstate on the east side and came to rest about 40 yards from the roadway. The vehicle sustained severe damage as it rolled, hitting a small tree in the process.
Sheriff’s officials said the driver was the lone occupant of the Trailblazer; he was wearing his seat belt and suffered no injuries. Sheriff’s officials said the man, whom they did not identify in a news release on the incident, had just purchased the vehicle earlier in the day Wednesday.
The driver was arrested and is facing his third OWI charge.