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By MATT ARMSTRONG
Daily News Staff Writer
The criminal complaint filed against a 31-year-old Washington man includes more information on the alleged theft from a deceased doctor’s bank account and Ketchikan home than was previously available.
Jordan Joplin is charged with one count of first-degree theft, a Class B felony, for allegedly taking more than $500,000 in various items from the home of Dr. Eric Garcia Llorens, 58, who was found dead in his Summit Terrace home on March 27.
Garcia had been a surgeon at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center since March 2009, according to PeaceHealth spokeswoman Mischa Chernick.
The Ketchikan Police Department, at 9 a.m. March 27, responded to Garcia’s home after a friend — identified as Joplin — reported not having seen Garcia for approximately 10 days, according to KPD Deputy Chief Josh Dossett.
Police found Garcia on a sofa in an upstairs living room. Based on the initial examination of the scene, he appeared to have died of natural causes, Dossett said during a Friday afternoon press conference at the police station.
An autopsy of Garcia was conducted Wednesday at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Anchorage, and there was no obvious cause of death found during the procedure. It will be two or three weeks before toxicology results are available, Dossett said on Friday and in a phone interview Monday morning.
“At this point, we would consider the death suspicious,” Dossett said Friday.
Joplin identified himself as a close friend of Garcia’s and said that he would stay at Garcia’s house when he visited Ketchikan, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that, on March 27, Joplin was in possession of Garcia’s truck, the vehicle’s key and keys to Garcia’s house.
When police responded to Garcia’s residence, it appeared that computers were missing from the area where Garcia was found. A local realtor and friend of Garcia’s also informed the KPD that he’d previously helped Garcia move approximately $500,000 in gold and coins into a locked closet underneath a set of stairs in the residence. Police did not find those items in Garcia’s residence, according to the complaint.
The friend also told police that Garcia had a collection of 20 to 30 watches — worth $2,000 to $8,000 each — in display cases and an extensive collection of expensive alcohol. Police did not find those items in the residence either, according to the complaint.
Garcia’s home also had an alarm system, but it had been disabled and the control box was missing. Garcia’s wallet and cellphone were missing as well, the complaint continued.
Joplin, when interviewed by Sgt. Robert Cheatam, allegedly said that he’d been in Ketchikan on March 16 to visit Garcia, and that he’d left the next day. He also allegedly told police that the last time he’d seen Garcia alive was on March 16, and he didn’t say anything about shipping items south from Ketchikan or having business in town apart from seeing Garcia, according to the complaint.
After interviewing Joplin, the KPD took custody of Garcia’s vehicle and found a receipt allegedly showing that Joplin used Lynden Transport to ship three containers on March 17 from Ketchikan to his Maple Valley, Washington, home. Alaska Marine Lines shipping documents filled out by Joplin stated that the items in the containers included used household goods and personal affects, and that Joplin was the sender, the complaint alleges.
The approximate weight of the items was 4,415 pounds.
Sgt. Eric Mattson, with the KPD, reviewed video surveillance footage from the shipping facility that allegedly showed Joplin using Garcia’s truck to make four trips to the facility. Garcia was not in the truck during those trips, according to the complaint.
The shipping containers were held at an AML facility in Seattle when they arrived there, and Det. Doug Carlton with the Port of Seattle Police Department applied for and received a search warrant for the containers on March 30, according to the complaint.
The warrant was executed on March 30, and the containers allegedly contained: high-value alcohol, some of the watches inside a display case, part of the coin collection, multiple electronics and various household items, according to the complaint.
The KPD also has executed search warrants on Garcia’s financial records. The complaint alleges that, starting on March 16, there were several electronic, bank-to-bank money transfers, with money going from Garcia’s bank account to accounts of Joplin and a woman.
“(The woman) is an acquaintance of Joplin who lives down in the Seattle area,” Dossett said on Monday. “ ... Officers have talked to her. I don’t want to label her as a suspect, but officers have talked to her.”
Almost $37,000 is alleged to have been taken from Garcia’s account as of March 30, according to the complaint.
“Due to the large amount of cash already disbursed to Mr. Joplin out of Dr. Garcia’s account, and the fact that much of the valuable property missing from Dr. Garcia’s residence has yet to be recovered, it is believed that Mr. Joplin currently has substantial resources at his disposal,” the complaint alleges.
During the course of their investigation, police contacted a Seattle office of the company that owned the shipping containers that Joplin allegedly used to ship items south from Ketchikan. An employee of the company told officers that Joplin was planning to leave the country on Tuesday, according to the complaint.
Joplin was contacted Friday afternoon at a shipping yard near Tacoma, Washington, by Mattson, KPD Officer Devin Miller and a detective from King County, Washington, when he went to pick up the shipping containers, according to Dossett.
Police also searched Joplin’s home in Washington on Friday.
Joplin currently is being held as a fugitive on $200,000 bail at the King County Correctional Facility, according to online prison information.
The State of Alaska is working to extradite Joplin, but it’s unclear when he might appear in court in Ketchikan.