Erie Police are providing more information after a suspicious death in the city’s east side and one person was taken into custody.
According to an affidavit, the Erie Police Department was first reported about a missing person on Tuesday, Sept. 19. That missing person resided in the 1100 block of East 28th Street with her children and adult son. The son reported to police that he saw Gordon Kirkland outside the residence around 2 a.m. on Tuesday and also said he heard a woman screaming outside.
A family friend contacted 911 at 9:41 a.m. after multiple messages from the victim’s daughter stating her mother had not returned and was missing. The friend then reported the mother missing and possibly kidnapped to the police.
Patrols then responded to the scene to investigate but did not locate the missing person inside the residence. Police then attempted to locate Kirkland at his residence in the 3000 block of State Street when Kirkland’s attorney contacted EPD stating Kirkland was with him and wanted to turn himself him.
When police arrived at Kirkland’s location, they reported Kirkland had a wound on his right-hand palm — consistent with a cutting instrument laceration. Kirkland was detained and then transported to UPMC Hamot for treatment.
Police then returned to search the back of the East 28th Street property, they discovered a dead body, which Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook identified as a 48-year-old female. The victim had reportedly suffered numerous defensive wounds to her hands and arms and had severe lacerations to her back and neck, consistent with a cutting instrument.
According to witness interviews, Kirkland reportedly attempted to break into the property by removing screens and prying open windows. Multiple fingerprints were found on the window screen frame and allegedly were determined to belong to Kirkland.
While continuing to investigate the scene, police found multiple blood trails going north through the residence’s backyard and onto the 1100 block of East 27th Street. They report the trail continued east on East 27th Street then south on Brandes Street.
Blood droplets were located on the right side of the sidewalk, which police allege is consistent with an injury on Kirkland.
Video footage was also obtained by police and allegedly showed Kirkland walking eastbound on East 27th Street and then south on Brandes Street around 2:31 a.m. on Tuesday.
Additionally, police searched through the victim’s cellphone which showed multiple messages to friends and family indicating a domestic dispute with Kirkland. It’s also alleged that Kirkland had made multiple attempts to break into the East 28th Street residence within two days prior to the incident.
“When we found the female victim, she had stab wounds to her body, when she was found so obviously right away major crimes team was dispatched to that, and it turned into a homicide investigation,” said Rick Lorah, deputy chief of police for the City of Erie.
Kirkland, 45, has been charged with criminal homicide as well as first-degree murder. Kirkland’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20.