Share this article

print logo

Surgeon's father heartbroken by apparent murder-suicide

Buffalo surgeon Timothy V. Jorden Jr. had everything.

And then he lost it all.

When authorities found his body off a footpath leading to an Eighteen Mile Creek ravine in Lake View late Friday morning, a couple of hundred yards from his home, the case against him became what police now say is a murder-suicide.

For loved ones of the well-respected Erie County Medical Center trauma surgeon, it seemed incomprehensible.

How could it possibly be true that on Wednesday morning he had fatally shot his ex-girlfriend, 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewski, five times in the head and upper body at close range with a handgun -- perhaps the same .357 Magnum he took his own life with.

The bullet that killed the 49-year-old Jorden also broke the heart of his disabled 70-year-old father.

With one hand leaning on a cane and the other clutching his chest, Timothy Vance Jorden Sr. struggled to put on a brave face when told of the grim discovery.

The father, standing a few feet away from a portrait of his deceased wife in his home on Parkridge Avenue in the Bailey-Kensington neighborhood, said, "Timmy's in a better place. He's with his mother. He loved her. After she died in a house fire in 2004, things started to change."

Jorden, relatives said, was a man of healing, known for saving the lives of so many on the operating table. He had risen from humble roots in the Perry housing projects and made more money than he could ever have imagined. Seven years ago, he paid $540,000 in cash for his sprawling home on Lake Erie.

His greatest treasures, family members said, were his five children.

Earlier Friday morning, before police found the surgeon's remains at 10:40 a.m., his father had told The Buffalo News he was still hoping that his oldest son would surrender peacefully to police.

"I cannot conceive of him doing this to the woman," he said. "I never met her."

Jorden Sr. said it was his understanding that his son was often pursued by women because he was a well-to-do surgeon. But authorities said Jorden Jr. often dated and at times allegedly abused women.

"I never saw him do anything violent," the father said.

"I wished I could have told him, 'Think of the memory of your mother and your children.' Maybe that would have brought him back to what we call reality."

The father said that it was the example set by his deceased wife, Linnie Pearl Middlebrooks Jorden, that propelled not only their first born to succeed, but their other child, Terrance, who went on to become a dentist.

The first African-American woman to head the Marriage Bureau at Buffalo City Hall, Middlebrooks Jorden died on Dec. 23, 2004, her 62nd birthday, in a house fire on Janet Street, also in the Bailey-Kensington neighborhood.

And before that family tragedy, Jorden Sr. recalled another sad time in the family dating back to the early 1970s.

"A man who wasn't right in the head stomped my father to death. The guy had gone on a rampage and killed three other people," Jorden Sr. said. "My father James was 56 when he was murdered."

As the long and heavy minutes passed in the frail father's living room late Friday morning, he also talked of how his surgeon son was devoted to his five children and how he remained on good terms with their mothers.

Frances Tason, Jorden Jr.'s ex-wife, now lives in California. She had two children with him -- David and Felicia; Tracy Bolsinger of Oregon had three children, Shanea, Terrance and Joelle.

"Timmy constantly worked. I thought he had roller blades. He never stopped. He earned about $500,000 a year," the father said. "He told me he worked so much because he was putting money away for his children."

All of the children, who range in age from 10 to 23, are close.

At about noon Friday, relatives began arriving at the father's home to console him.

"We will never know what really happened now that they are both dead," said Lynette Walker, a maternal aunt of the doctor. "The family regrets that an intervention was not done -- for both parties -- prior to the tragedy."