In the end, Dr. Timothy V. Jorden Jr. chose the same fatal solution he had worked so hard to avoid as a trauma surgeon gun violence.
A two-day nationwide manhunt for Jorden, a suspect in the Wednesday morning shooting death of a former girlfriend at Erie County Medical Center, ended Friday when he was found in a wooded ravine about 800 yards from his lakefront home, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Jorden's body, in blue surgical scrubs and black jacket, was discovered by two female state parole officers in dense underbrush near a ravine along Eighteen Mile Creek.
A .357 Magnum was found in Jorden's right hand, Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said. Ballistics tests will determine if it's the same gun he used to kill Jackie Wisniewski, his ex-girlfriend and the single mother of a young boy, he said. No suicide note was found.
"Had the doctor been taken alive, he would have been charged with murder," Derenda said. "He shot the victim in the head four times and once in the back at point-blank range."
Cellphone records and Erie County Medical Center surveillance video, the commissioner said, show Jorden on the phone talking for 17 minutes to Wisniewski, "luring her down to a basement stairwell where he shot her."
Another doctor heard the gunfire at about 8 a.m. Wednesday and rushed to the stairwell, where he found the 33-year-old woman.
At the same time, the 49-year-old Jorden ran up to his office on the third floor of the David K. Miller Building and unloaded shells from the gun before fleeing to his vehicle and heading to his home.
Other hospital surveillance video showed the doctor, earlier that morning, arriving with a large bag that police determined contained a shotgun, Derenda said. The shotgun was later recovered from the surgeon's office.
Surveillance video at the doctor's house on West Arnold Drive beside Lake Erie also played a crucial role in assisting police. Jorden entered his $540,000 home at 8:37 a.m. and 4 minutes later went out a back door, headed south toward a heavily wooded area in the direction of the ravine.
"We believed there was a strong possibility he had committed suicide," Derenda said, but heavy brush, the ravine, cliffs and a low tree canopy all conspired to slow the search.
A neighbor on Thursday told police out canvassing that she had heard a single gunshot between 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. Wednesday -- another sign that the doctor might have killed himself, Derenda said.
But without a body to confirm a suicide, Buffalo Chief of Detectives Dennis J. Richards said detectives could not dismiss the possibility that Jorden was still alive and on the run, given the fact that he had withdrawn $36,000 from his bank account in the last two weeks.
"We never gave up control of the doctor's house as we worked on dual scenarios," Richards said.
The FBI conducted interviews nationwide and tracked the doctor's cellphone and credit card records, while keeping an eye on airline passenger lists, according to Steven Lanser, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Buffalo office.
Meanwhile, the rugged terrain was mapped out, and law enforcement workers walked every inch of the area, with state police rappelling cliffs, K-9 dogs sniffing the grounds, and GPS units used to assist in guiding the search, according to State Police Capt. Steven A. Nigrelli.
At 10:40 a.m. Friday, the meticulous approach paid off.
Parole Officers Beth Hart and Paula Hughes found the doctor's body. It was only then that authorities could stand down, State Police Maj. Christopher L. Cummings said.
"Having an armed and dangerous individual on the loose is what causes police supervisors to have sleepless nights," Cummings said.
At a news conference early Friday evening in Buffalo Police Headquarters, Derenda said the satisfactory conclusion to the search would not have been possible without the cooperation of so many police agencies all willing to assist.
>Gifts for his brother
In answering questions that arose over the last two days, Derenda said:
Jorden took $20,000 of the $36,000 bank withdrawal and mailed a cashier's check to his brother, Terrance, a dentist in Atlanta.
On Tuesday evening, Jorden gave a Rolex watch and $5,500to his close friend Martin L. Motley III, a Buffalo police officer on long-term disability.
Surveillance video at the doctor's home showed Motley arriving there at about 10 a.m. Wednesday. As Motley left the home at 11 a.m., Hamburg police officers took him into custody, Hamburg Police Chief Michael K. Williams said.
Motley is not believed to have committed any criminal acts, Derenda said, though he remains suspended without pay for violating the police department sick leave confinement policy.
Motley told city homicide detectives and FBI agents that Jorden gave him the watch and cash to pass along to his brother in Atlanta as gifts.
The motive for the killing, Derenda said, "appears to be domestic in nature."
Friends say Wisniewski, a secretary in ECMC's adolescent psychiatric unit, had confided to them that Jorden had been abusive and that he had threatened and stalked her in recent months.
They said Wisniewski broke up with Jorden, a former Army Special Forces soldier, because he was cheating on her and she feared for her life.
"Even while he was stalking the woman, he was dating other women, and it looks like it all came to a head," a law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition he not be identified.
Neighbors on Friday afternoon expressed relief that the search for Jorden was over, and one woman driving by said she was glad the doctor did not harm anyone else.
The last two and a half days were nerve-racking for them, with law enforcement members coming and going, state police and Erie County sheriff's helicopters flying overhead and dogs searching the woods and fields around them.
"It was constant. The helicopters were right over the house," said Jenny Turner of Old Lake Shore Road. "It was not knowing."
Neighbors said they locked their doors and didn't let children play outside, just in case Jorden was still in the area.
"It made me nervous. I said, 'He's still around here. They wouldn't be doing this much if he wasn't right around here,' " Turner said.
She said her two children were scared at night and did not want to sleep alone.
Wisniewski's co-corkers at ECMC also expressed relief that Jorden's body had been recovered but acknowledged their grieving for a lost friend is far from over.
"This has been a difficult and sad time for the ECMC family," Chief Executive Officer Jody L. Lomeo said in a statement. "We are just starting the healing process and trying to cope with an incomprehensible event."
The hospital staff, Lomeo said, is mourning but wants more than anything else "to honor and remember Jackie Wisniewski, a dedicated member of the ECMC family and extraordinary mother to her son.
"We also thank the entire community for its support," he said. "ECMC has taken care of thousands from the community, and now the community has been taking care of us. The thoughts, prayers and well-wishes for the ECMC family have been heartwarming."
Other law enforcement agencies that assisted in the search for Jorden included the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Marshals and several SWAT teams from suburban police departments.
News Staff Reporters Dan Herbeck and Matt Gryta contributed to this report.