UPDATE: NJ woman planned to leave abusive spouse days before he killed her, friend says

BLAIRSTOWN — The last moments of Julie Matte's life were spent on the telephone pleading with a 911 dispatcher.

By the time State Police arrived just after 1 a.m. Wednesday at her home on Cherry Tree Lane, she was dead. Her killer, who apparently had shot her in the torso, was nowhere to be found.

Hours later, and miles away at the Johnsonburg Presbyterian Center on Route 519 in Frelinghuysen, an employee came across a man bleeding inside a car. Police say that was the 55-year-old man who had shot Matte before driving off. He also had shot himself and was dead by the time police arrived after 9:25 a.m.

New Jersey 101.5 is not identifying the man because authorities on Wednesday afternoon had not been able to notify his relatives about his death.

Warren County Prosecutor Richard Burke said Matte, who sold beauty and wellness products online, called 911 about 1 a.m. to report that she was being assaulted by a male relative.

UPDATE: NJ woman planned to leave abusive spouse days before he killed her, friend says

There was "quite a bit of noise in the background" when the 911 call came in, but Burke said no specific voices were heard other than Matte's, which he described as being "very excited."

Blairstown police had never been called to the home, which sits on 183 acres in rural Warren County. Burke said he was not aware of Matte taking out a restraining order.

Matte was married. Property records show she and her husband purchased the home in 2002.

The Johnsonburg Presbyterian Center said in a statement that the man had "no association" with the religious facility.

Blairstown police said the North Warren Regional School and the Blairstown Elementary School were placed in a lockdown before while authorities searched for the possible homicide suspect.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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