Slain UNCC professor's colleague: 'Feels like losing a family member'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — UNC Charlotte associate professor Eric Heggestad described his former colleague Jeannine Skinner as a bright teacher and rising star.

[Officials identify 62nd homicide victim as UNC Charlotte professor]

"It feels like losing a family member in a lot of ways,” Heggestad said. "She hadn't been here long, but she was making a really strong impact. She was exactly what we look for when we hire a faculty member. She was so good with her students. She was mentoring graduate students. She was productive in research."

Skinner, 35, was starting her second year as a psychology professor at UNC-Charlotte after working at universities in Nashville, and getting her Ph.D. at Howard University.

She was killed Friday in the Ayrsley Town Center community in southwest Charlotte.

"The students really loved working with her and she was taking steps to even become a better teacher," Heggestad said.

Heggestad told Channel 9 that Skinner had a personal five-year plan, full of classes and workshops to fine tune her craft.

In her short time in Charlotte, she had begun research in the community, working to improve cognitive function in aging adults through a local senior center.

The man wanted in her homicide, Donny L. Franklin, 45, has been placed into police custody.

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