Crime & Courts

Washington man charged with murder in Ketchikan doctor’s death

A Washington state man is facing murder charges in the death of a Ketchikan doctor whom he called a "close friend," according to court records.

A Ketchikan grand jury on Friday indicted 32-year-old Jordan Joplin for the murder of Dr. Eric Garcia, whose body was found on March 27 in his home, said a statement from the Ketchikan District Attorney's office.

The murder charges come more than three months after Joplin was charged with theft for allegedly stealing "expensive items" from Garcia's home and money from his bank account starting on March 16, the statement said.

Joplin lived in Washington and had visited Garcia in Ketchikan on March 16, leaving the next day, according to a complaint written by Ketchikan Police Sgt. Robert Cheatam and filed in district court.

When interviewed by police, Joplin described Garcia as a "close friend" whom he stayed with when in Ketchikan, the complaint said. Joplin said he didn't work or live in Ketchikan, and only traveled to the Southeast Alaska town to visit Garcia, it said.

It was Joplin who asked police to check on Garcia in late March, the complaint said. When officers went to Garcia's home for a welfare check on March 27, they found the doctor's body and also noted that it appeared "multiple items were missing" from his house, the complaint said.

The complaint did not detail what led to Garcia's death, and Ketchikan District Attorney Benjamin Hofmeister wrote in an email Friday that the information was "not part of the public record at this time."


Deborah Macaulay, a public defender representing Joplin, declined to comment on the case Friday and said in an email that she had advised Joplin "not to communicate with the press."

The complaint written by police said that during the investigation into Garcia's death, they discovered that his home's alarm system had been disabled and its control box was missing. The doctor's cellphone and wallet were also missing, the complaint said. In addition, officers said it appeared computers had been taken, the complaint said.

After police spoke with one of Garcia's friends, they also learned that the doctor had a collection of gold and coins with an estimated value of $500,000, as well as a collection of watches and "an extensive collection of expensive bottles of spirits," the complaint said. All of those items were missing as well.

On the same day officers found Garcia's body, Joplin was in possession of the doctor's truck and a set of keys to Garcia's home, the complaint said.

Ketchikan police later took custody of the truck and found a receipt inside that showed Joplin had shipped three containers of property from Ketchikan to a Washington address on March 17, according to the complaint. The items shipped weighed 4,415 pounds.

The shipping containers were intercepted in Seattle and searched by police. They found items that included portions of Garcia's watch and coin collections, as well as a flat-screen TV, two laptops, a tablet and a desktop computer monitor, according to the complaint.

Ketchikan police also searched Garcia's financial records and discovered that a total of about $37,000 had been moved from Garcia's bank account to accounts "associated with Joplin," said the statement from the district attorney.

Joplin was charged with first-degree theft in April. He now also faces charges of first-degree murder and second-degree murder.

On Friday, he was in custody at the Ketchikan Correctional Center and was being held on $200,000 bail. His next court date is scheduled for Monday, according to court records.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.