Timothy Jorden was well-known in the Buffalo, N.Y., area. His career began with a position as a weapons expert in the Army’s Special Forces, included a stint as medic and eventually settled into civilian life as a respected physician and surgeon. But the former military man also had his demons, ones that chased him through a series of incidents -- including cases of domestic violence, police said.
On Friday, Jorden’s body was found in a heavily wooded area in Lake View, N.Y., part of the town of Hamburg outside of Buffalo. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, just days after his ex-girlfriend was killed in the stairwell of the hospital where both worked.
Police view the combined incidents, which sparked a national manhunt, as a murder-suicide, said Dennis J. Richards, Buffalo Police Department chief of detectives.
“His public face was a caring physician and a wonderful surgeon,” Richards said in a telephone interview with the Los Angeles Times. “But he had a dark side and a history of domestic violence with several women.”
A gun was recovered at the site where Jorden’s body was found, Richards said. Tests will be done to see if it is the same weapon used in the slaying of the former girlfriend, Jacqueline Wisniewski, 33.
Both Jorden, 49, and Wisiniewski worked at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. He was a trauma surgeon and she was an administrative assistant. On Wednesday morning, the woman was found shot to death at the medical facility. Jorden was quickly named as a person of interest and a manhunt was launched.
The hunt ended when officers found Jorden's body Friday in an area away from Jorden’s house near Lake Erie. It was unclear when he had killed himself, but it could have been as soon as a few hours after Wisniewski's body was found. A neighbor, Tom Wrzosek, told authorities that on Wednesday he had heard what he later thought was a shot.
“It's terrible,” Wrzosek told reporters. “It's a tragic situation. Nobody wins in a situation like this.”
“It doesn't make any sense that he did that, and that he killed himself -- oh my God, it's just terrible,” another neighbor, June Dupree, told the Associated Press. “I can't get over it. I'm just about in tears right now.”
Some of Wisiniewski's friends told local media outlets that Jorden had stalked Wisiniewski after she ended the relationship. One of her friends told WIVB-TV that Wisniewski told her the doctor had put a GPS tracking device in her car and once held her captive in her home for a day and a half, wielding a knife.
Jorden's colleagues told local media outlets that he had been acting strangely in recent months and had lost as much as 75 pounds from his 6-foot-2, 250-pound frame.
The Buffalo News reported that Jorden joined the National Guard in high school, went into the Army after graduation and served with the Army's Special Forces, first as a weapons expert, then as a medic. In those roles, he served in the Caribbean, Japan and Korea.
Jorden earned a medical degree from the University at Buffalo and trained at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. He received his certification from the American Board of Surgery in 2004.