Details emerge in death of local doctor: Defendant worked as porn actor, was financially involved with victim

PUBLISHED KDN: 08/18/17

By ZACHARY HALASCHAK
Daily News Staff Writer

The death of local surgeon Dr. Eric Garcia Llorens, 58, one of only two surgeons in the area at the time, struck a chord in Ketchikan.

Soon there were more questions than answers. Many of those questions involved 32-year-old Jordan Joplin — a man accused of first- and second-degree murder and of stealing more than $500,000 in gold and coins, computers, and other valuables from the doctor.

Citing the high-profile nature of the case, authorities in Ketchikan have been unusually mum, largely declining to release further information regarding Garcia’s death, Joplin’s past, or the two’s relationship.

Joplin was a relative outsider in the community, and according to court documents, “has never been employed in Ketchikan, never lived in Ketchikan, and only visits Ketchikan to visit Mr. Garcia.” In his home state of Washington, Joplin has a checkered past.

Jordan Joplin

Joplin has been involved in a number of crimes according to Washington state court records; these include pleading guilty to theft in 2005 and a felony conviction of destruction of property and making false claims in 2009. Joplin also was adjudicated guilty of attempted theft after trying to steal GPS units from a Walmart.

It is not clear when, or how, Garcia and Joplin became acquainted, but information obtained from the Washington State Patrol reveals the existence of a financial relationship beginning more than a year before the alleged murder.

In the course of researching Joplin’s extensive paper trail of felonies, civil disputes, and citations, the Daily News learned that Joplin was cited in King County, Washington, for a speeding ticket at 11:16 p.m. on March 18 — two days after Garcia’s alleged homicide.

Following discovery of Joplin’s ticket, the Daily News spoke with Washington Trooper Russ Winger, a public information officer, who pulled the registration on the 2016 Toyota Tacoma that Joplin was driving at the time he was cited.

According to Winger, the vehicle was originally registered in Washington to both Dr. Eric Garcia Llorens and Jordan Joplin under what appeared to be a co-lease agreement.

“May 9, 2016, it was entered (into the system),” Winger said. “They are the registered owners — both of them.”

The superseding indictment approved by a Ketchikan grand jury shows that following Garcia’s alleged murder, Joplin is alleged to have transferred around $40,000 from Garcia’s bank accounts to his own bank and PayPal accounts.

One of the accounts that Joplin is accused of funneling Garcia’s money into stood out. It was a PayPal account not bearing Joplin’s name, but rather that of a “LOGANKRUISE.”

Investigation into that extraneous account indicated that Joplin appears to have used a similar name, “Logan Cruise,” to work in pornography.

Several non-pornographic photography and commercial publication websites have images of a shirtless Joplin that show a distinctive tattoo on one side of his torso. The tattoo spells out his last name — Joplin — in large, bold capital letters.

Some of those photographs are in a Flickr album of images taken by Seattle-based amateur photographer Rich Bailey.

Bailey, whose general photography covers a wide range of subject matter, said he was taking photos at Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass in April 2016 when Joplin approached Bailey and asked Bailey to photograph him there on the mountain that day.

Bailey confirmed that he took the photographs of Joplin that appear on Bailey’s Flickr site, and confirmed that the individual appearing in those images is Jordan Joplin. Bailey also sent the Daily News other photos taken on that occasion, showing the shirtless Joplin with the tattoo clearly visible.

Internet research into the name “Logan Cruise” produces numerous explicit images and videos of an individual with the distinctive Joplin tattoo, sourced from gay pornography websites.

Joplin appears to have been involved with a number of gay porn productions, working with a number of companies and using a number of pseudonyms.

According to time stamps on the images and videos, the period that Joplin worked in the adult film industry appears to overlap the time frame that Joplin was financially involved with the doctor.

These details compound an already complicated and convoluted crime narrative.

According to Ketchikan Police Department documents, Joplin told investigators the last time he saw his “close friend” alive was on March 16, when he came to Ketchikan to visit Garcia just for that night.

Joplin claims he left Ketchikan the following day.

More than a week later, on March 27, police discovered the body of Dr. Eric Garcia Llorens on a sofa in the upstairs living room of his Ketchikan home.

Joplin himself called Ketchikan police on March 27 to initiate a welfare check on the surgeon whom Joplin claimed he hadn’t heard from since visiting Ketchikan 10 days earlier. Officials have declined to release audio or written transcripts of this phone call.

Joplin, who was back in Ketchikan during the March 27 welfare check, was in possession of a set of keys to Garcia’s house, as well as Garcia’s vehicle. He waited outside as police searched the home and found the doctor’s body.

KPD Deputy Chief Dossett spoke with KTUU following the discovery of Garcia’s body. Dossett described Joplin as acting “very aloof,” upon finding out that Garcia was dead.

“He was, the way he was acting with this female he had brought up with him, I guess overly romantic with her right there in the driveway,” Dossett told KTUU. “This was supposed to be his good friend that has passed away.”

Dossett confirmed to the Daily News on Thursday that the female he previously described is named Rachel Bellona.

Public records out of King County, Washington show that both Bellona and Joplin’s names are listed on the deed to a property containing a 1978 doublewide trailer in Maple Valley, Washington. The property has been listed for sale since May.

Upon entering Garcia’s residence, investigators noticed that a number of items appeared to be missing from Garcia’s home.

Ketchikan Police took possession of Garcia’s vehicle, and found receipts for an Alaska-based shipping company. Surveillance footage at that shipping facility shows Joplin making four separate trips on March 17 to unload goods into shipping containers — all three of the containers were addressed to Joplin and Bellona’s property in Maple Valley, Washington.

Dossett told the Daily News Thursday that there are no pending charges for Bellona.

On March 30 a warrant was executed and the shipping containers were intercepted recovering more than two tons of valuables.

Among the items allegedly stolen were: $500,000 in gold and coins, 20 to 30 watches valued at $2,000 to $8,000 each, computers and a number of other high-value goods.

Dossett told KIRO 7 that Dr. Garcia’s collection of liquor alone was insured at $800,000.

Following the discovery of the crates filled with Garcia’s property, and records showing the alleged money transfers, Joplin was arrested in Washington on March 31.

Although initially indicted on theft charges, investigators continued to probe details of the case.

Then, on July 21, more than four months after his initial arrest, Joplin was indicted on the charges of first- and second-degree murder.

The indictment immediately raised questions about what evidence convinced a grand jury to indict on the murder charges.

Dossett made a statement back in April that investigators found no obvious signs of foul play when the body was discovered. An initial autopsy also revealed no obvious cause of death, further perplexing the case.

Police have not released any information regarding the results of toxicology screenings, which typically have a much slower turnover rate than autopsy results.

Police, Ketchikan District Attorney Ben Hoffmeister and others close to the case have declined to disclose Dr. Garcia’s cause of death, why Joplin was indicted or if the toxicology reports are involved in the indictment.

“This is one of those big cases that we don’t get here very often,” Dossett told reporters at the outset of the investigation back in March.

Joplin is currently being held on $200,000 bail. A probable-cause statement filed by KPD states that police believe Joplin to be a flight risk, and that before his arrest he might have indicated to others plans to leave the country.

The Daily News contacted Public Defender Deborah Macaulay, who was assigned to Joplin’s case,  for a statement prior to the release of this article on Thursday. A response was not received before press time.

Joplin’s trial is scheduled for April 16, 2018; the trial is expected to last for two to three weeks.

As for now, Jordan Joplin sits in a jail cell at Ketchikan Correctional Center — less than 500 yards away from the Summit Terrace home in which Dr. Eric Garcia was found deceased.

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