BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A former Army weapons expert pursued after the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend apparently killed himself with a gunshot to the head, quelling the risk of more bloodshed and silencing perhaps the only voice that might have answered the central question: What caused a gifted trauma surgeon widely beloved as a lifesaver to end his life in a spasm of violence?
After a two-day nationwide manhunt, police found the body of a man believed to be Timothy Jorden in thick brush near the doctor's Lake Erie shoreline home. A neighbor had reported hearing a gunshot from the area on Wednesday morning, and police with dogs found the body, dressed in surgical scrubs, on Friday morning.
Neighbor June Dupree said she was distraught over the developments.
"It doesn't make any sense that he did that and that he killed himself," she said. "Oh, my God, it's just terrible. I can't get over it. I'm just about in tears right now."
She said everybody loved Jorden.
"He saved so many lives," she said. "This is what doesn't make sense. There's got to be more to it."
Authorities had been searching for Jorden since Wednesday morning, when 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski was found shot to death in a stairwell at the Erie County Medical Center. Friends said Wisniewski was afraid of the 49-year-old Jorden and had broken off their relationship some time ago.
Police provided few clues and said nothing about the motive behind Jorden's tailspin but friends, neighbors and colleagues painted a picture of a man in decline. Jorden, once 250 pounds and clean-shaven, had lost up to 75 pounds and let his face get scraggly. His neatly manicured lawn got overgrown. He just didn't seem the same; not as "nice" as before, was how Dupree put it.
At the medical center, staff members were left to mourn the death of a respected administrative assistant and try to fathom how an award-winning surgeon's life could end this way.
"We are just starting the healing process and trying to cope with an incomprehensible event," said Jody Lomeo, the hospital's chief executive officer.
SWAT teams had spent hours Wednesday searching the home without success.
On Thursday, neighbor Tom Wrzosek had told police he heard a gunshot from the steep, thick terrain behind Jorden's house the morning before, just about 90 minutes after Wisniewski was gunned down at the hospital where she and Jorden worked.
Some of her friends told local media outlets that Jorden stalked her 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.
A woman who answered the phone listed in the name of Wisniewski's parents said the family would not be commenting.
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.
He was honored by various local organizations over the years for his teaching skills and involvement in the Buffalo community.
Dupree said she will try to remember Jorden as a good neighbor and gifted surgeon.
"It's very quiet here today," she said. "It's like everybody is in mourning."