Washington state man indicted in death of Alaska surgeon

By Dan Joling

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A Washington state man charged with stealing thousands in cash and household goods from an Alaska surgeon has been indicted in his death.

A grand jury indicted Jordan Joplin, 32, in the killing of Dr. Eric Garcia, who was found dead March 27 at his home in Ketchikan.

Joplin in April was indicted on a felony theft count. He is suspected of shipping 4,415 pounds of items from Garcia’s home to an address in Maple Valley, southeast of Seattle, including gold and a collection of coins estimated to be worth $500,000.

A superseding indictment Friday also charges Joplin with first- and second-degree murder. He is jailed in Ketchikan.

Public defender Margret Bergerud said the office would have no comment on the indictment.

Ketchikan District Attorney Benjamin Hofmeister said by email he could not “at this time” reveal the nature of Garcia’s death.

Police were alerted to the case when Joplin called them March 27 to check on Garcia, whom Joplin described as a “close friend.” Joplin, driving Garcia’s truck and with keys to Garcia’s home, met officers at Garcia’s home.

Police found Garcia’s body inside and estimated he had been dead for about 10 days. They also determined that numerous items were missing, including computers, a flat screen TV, the gold and coins and a collection of 20 to 30 wristwatches valued at $2,000 to $8,000 each and kept in display cases.

Joplin told police he last saw Garcia on March 16 and that he had left the next day. Surveillance video and a receipt showed Joplin on March 17 used Garcia’s pickup to make four trips to a Ketchikan freight company. The company shipped three containers from Ketchikan to Washington.

When the containers reached Seattle, police searched them and found some of the missing watches and coins, the TV, two laptops and other goods that belonged to Garcia.

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