Patient Walks Out of Fla. Hospital and Allegedly Kills Woman, Breaks into Her Home

The suspect was at the Orlando Regional Medical Center after allegedly having a bad reaction to drugs he received for his birthday

Erin Hartigan
Photo: Orlando Police Department

A Florida man has been charged with murder after authorities say he walked out of a hospital and killed a woman in a nearby home.

PEOPLE confirms that William Franklin, 33, has been charged with first-degree murder and burglary with a battery therein.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Orlando Sentinel, Franklin was at the Orlando Regional Medical Center early Sunday morning after having a bad reaction to drugs he received for his birthday. Video surveillance showed him walking out of the hospital shortly after 1 a.m.

Franklin wandered to the upscale Delaney Park neighborhood, which is approximately a quarter mile from the hospital. There, authorities say, he broke into the home of Erin Hartigan, a 44-year-old assistant attorney for Orange County government. It's unclear exactly what happened after he entered the home, but authorities say Franklin stabbed Hartigan to death.

Hartigan's elderly mother was also in the home at the time of the killing. She called 911 and told the dispatcher that her daughter had been attacked and was lying in a pool of blood on the floor.

"There’s so much blood on the floor I can’t believe it," Hartigan's mother told the dispatcher. "You need to come now with an ambulance."

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According to the arrest report, Hartigan's mother said she heard a struggle. She walked out of her room into the hallway and saw her daughter on the ground with a man standing over her. The man fled the scene.

William Franklin
William Franklin. Orlando Police Department

Approximately five hours later, a neighbor called 911 and reported seeing Franklin hiding in the backyard of another home. When authorities picked him up, he was wearing only a T-shirt and boxer shorts. He was wet and told officers that he had gone swimming in a nearby lake. An officer noted that he had a cut on his hand.

Franklin allegedly claimed he didn’t remember anything that had happened the previous night, but agreed that "anything is possible" when referring to Hartigan's killing.

In a Monday afternoon press conference, Orlando Police Sgt. William Cail told reporters that the killing seemed to be random.

"We have not been able to establish any connection between the victim and the suspect,” Cail said, adding that Franklin had not been able to explain how he chose Hartigan's home.

PEOPLE confirms that Franklin is being held without bond. He has not yet entered a plea, and court records do not identify an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.

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