After Meeting with a Man from the Internet for the First Time, Wanda Gordon Goes Missing and is Later Found Dead
Wanda Gordon goes missing on November 4th and fails to contact her twin sister or her children for several days. The day of her disappearance she met a man from the internet for the first time and her ex-husband unexpectedly took custody of her two youngest children days after her disappearance. Unfortunately, investigators found she was murdered in the early morning hours of November 5th and her body was disposed of in a remote area. An arrest has been made.
Missing Person Report
On Sunday November 7th, 2021, Broward authorities responded to a residence in Fort Lauderdale Florida for a missing person report. Ernest Gordon told police his 42-year-old wife, Wanda Gordon, had been missing since November 4th, having last saw her at 6 A.M. before he left for work that day. When he returned from work, she was not home. Although the couple was separated, they lived together as a family with Wanda’s 3 children from a prior marriage. He stated that he tried to call and text her but did not receive a response. The next morning around 6:15 A.M. Ernest stated that he went to work, and she was not in the residence and her 2007 Cadillac was not present.
When he got back from work the day after she was last seen, her vehicle was in the driveway, but she was no where to be found. Ernest said he tried contacting her again, asking her to at least contact her children who were worrying about her. He told police that she suffered from seizures, asthma, blood clots, depression, and previously suffered 2 heart attacks and that she requires medication for her conditions, all of which were still inside the house. He told police the only things missing from the house were her purse, cellphone, and wallet, as well as the front and rear facing dashcams on her vehicle. Although he was not sure when the key was lost, he said that a spare key to her Cadillac that was usually on his keychain was missing. He knew he had it when he picked up her vehicle from the mechanic shop on November 3rd. He stated that he continued to try to contact Wanda and received no response. Her twin sister and children were also not receiving a response, so he called police.
Statements By Wanda’s Oldest Son
Wanda’s oldest son, 19-year-old Yhkeime Morris spoke to police and told them that he last saw his mom on November 4th at 4 P.M. and that he thought that she was meeting a male friend because he heard his mom talking on the phone making plans with an unknown male. He stated that Ernest knew that his mother was seeing other men. Yhkeime told police that on the morning of November 5th he woke up at 7 A.M. and noticed that her vehicle was not in the driveway, and he went back to sleep. He woke again at 8:30 A.M. and saw his mother’s vehicle in the driveway but she was not home. He also said that his mother’s room was unusually tidy and that it was “never like that”. When asked about the relationship between Ernest and his mother, he said that they would argue occasionally but he would step in to prevent arguments from escalating.
On November 24th Yhkeime was interviewed by police again. Contradicting his original statement, he told police that he woke up at 6 A.M. on November 5th and say his mom’s vehicle in the driveway. After this the story goes went the same way as the prior statement where at 7 A.M. he saw that her vehicle was missing and no other vehicles were in the driveway, only for it to be back when he looked at 8:30 A.M. He also stated that he noticed that 3 small boxes that were always near his mother’s bed were missing. He was not sure what was inside of those boxes but stated that it was too small for clothing or documents to be in them.
Statements By Wanda’s Twin Sister
Police also spoke to Wanda’s twin sister, Wendy. Like everyone else she said that she last spoke to Wanda on November 4th, and she last saw her in person on November 2nd. Wendy told police that she knew that Wanda planned to meet someone on the 4th but would not tell her who the person was or where she was going, only telling her that she would go somewhere safe. Wanda apparently claimed to Wendy that a male friend offered to take her to either Jamaica or the Bahamas and would pay for all her expenses. According to Wendy, Ernest and Wanda had broken up a year before because of Ernest’s infidelity and that Wanda was now seeing other men after getting involved in some sort of sexual fetish and said that the other men were into the “same thing”.
On the afternoon of November 23rd police telephoned Wendy to speak to her again. This time she informed them that there were two separate men out of state who had offered to fly Wanda out on vacation, but Wanda would not provide any further details but thought one of their last names was “Davis” and that he was a mechanic. Wanda apparently told Wendy that he was acting weird, so she stopped communicating with him. Wendy further stated that Wanda did not drink or use drugs because either would interfere with her medications for her conditions. She also stressed that Wanda was very close with her, and they would speak everyday and would never leave without telling her or contacting her children.
Statement from Wanda’s Date
The man who Yhkeime heard Wanda talking on the phone with and Wendy thought she was meeting on the 4th was identified as Elios Edgecombe. He stated that they met at Fort Lauderdale Beach on the 4th and provided police with a time stamped parking receipt from the beach, a copy of his “WhatsApp” conversation with Wanda from October 17th at 6:21 P.M. until November 5th at 9:12 A.M. and a screenshot of his cellphone’s GPS location for November 4th which collaborated his story.
During a second interview with Elios, Elios stated that he met Wanda on the dating site “Hinge” and had been talking on the internet since October but had not met in person until November 4th. Like during the first time he spoke to police he said that they met at the beach and that they hung out for several hours that day. During their time together he told her that she was married, something she had previously not disclosed to him. He told police that although he hung out with her the rest of that day, he decided that he did not want any involvement with her going forward because she was married. He stated that they both left the beach sometime after midnight and he asked her to text him when she got home safely, which she did at 1:20 A.M. on November 5th. Since she often called him throughout the day, Elios said he texted her at 9:12 A.M. to tell her that he had class that day, but she did not respond. According to him, that was the last communication between the two of them.
Statement from Wanda’s Husband
On November 24th Wanda’s Husband Ernest was spoken to by police again. He reiterated the same thing he said when he reported her missing. Additionally, he said that Wanda’s ex husband Keith Morris came to Wanda and Ernest’s shared home on November 13th requesting to take custody of Wanda’s two younger children and that law enforcement had been notified. Keith had a court order but both children refused to leave with Keith saying that they wished to stay with Ernest who had been a father figure to them for the previous 10 years. Wanda’s two youngest children ended up staying with Ernest over the weekend but on Monday the 15th, Keith returned with another court order and took the children against their will. During this conversation he signed a consent form for the police to search Wanda’s vehicle as well as voluntarily gave a sample of his DNA. Before officers left they photographed and processed the vehicle, noting that two cameras were in fact removed like Ernest said.
Statements from Wanda’s Oldest Daughter
Police spoke to Wanda’s oldest daughter, Shataygia Morris, who no longer lived at home but said that she had a close relationship with her mother and communicated with her on a regular basis. She said that she last spoke to her mom on November 4th at 3:40 P.M. via text message. Like Wanda’s sister said, Shataygia stated that it was not like her mother to leave her children and not communicate with them, saying that her mother was “overprotective” and always needed to know where her children were. She stated that her mother had anxiety and depression but was never suicidal as far as she was aware. She did not go out often, and when she would, she would always come back the same day. She also told police she would never leave her vehicle behind because she was afraid to get into vehicles with strangers and would not have used an app like Uber of Lyft, even if she could figure out how to use the App.
When asked if her mother had a passport her Shataygia said that she did not think so and that her mother did not travel by plane due to her seizures. She stated that her medical conditions often made her walk with a cane or walker. Shataygia had access to Wanda’s social media accounts and said that there was nothing in there to give an idea where her mother may be, and that there has been no activity on them or conversations after November 4th. She also noted that her mother would never miss spending time with her family for Thanksgiving, always hosting the holiday for the entire family.
Shataygia told police that she found it strange that her father Keith went to her mom’s house shortly after she went missing and took custody of the younger children. When given information regarding this situation, she told police that she thinks that since her mom was missing, he no longer thought he needed to pay child support for the children. She said she had contact with her father and when she asked if she could see her siblings and have them over for Thanksgiving, he told her no and would not tell her where they now lived.
A search warrant was issued for Wanda’s phone records. These records from T-Mobile showed that Wanda’s phone got to her house around 1 A.M. on November 5th, then left the area of her house around 4 A.M. and traveled west to a rural area near US Route 27 and the Broward/Palm Beach County line at 4:33 A.M. where it remained until 4:50 A.M. After that there was movement down US Route 27 before it stops near Hiatus Road and Sawgrass Expressway, where it stayed until November 7th at approximately 1 A.M. The phone records showed that Wanda did, in fact, return home, or near her home, the night of the 4th – morning of the 5th.
Broward Sheriffs Office’s detectives went to the US Route 27 at the county line and retrieved surveillance video from the location where a white pickup truck is seen at 4:37 A.M. at a construction site before approaching an FWC officer. The truck makes a U-turn and then heads southbound on a service road with the FWC officer following him along westbound along a canal. At 4:59 A.M., the truck is seen again traveling south on US Route 27.
FWC Officer Morgan
FWC Officer Morgan said that between midnight and 7 A.M. he was working an off-duty detail at a construction site and conducted a traffic stop on the pickup truck seen on surveillance cameras as it entered a restricted area. Officer Morgan stated that he ran the tags and they vehicle came back as registered to T & C Landscapes, LLC, the same company Ernest Gordon works for. The sole occupant of the truck, Ernest, was asked what he was doing in that remote area in the middle of the night, and he said that he was “driving around to clear his head”. Officer Morgan noted that he looked very nervous.
Officer Morgan said that people often come to that construction site to dispose of their trash inside of the commercial dumpsters there, and that he noticed three large trash bags (one white and two black) in the back of Ernest’s truck. After taking a photo of the trash bags, Officer Morgan and warned Ernest about illegal dumping, Ernest left the area and went southbound on US Route 27. This directly contradicted Ernest’s claim that he was asleep this night because he had work in the morning.
License Plate Recognition
Broward authorities contacted the Lauderhill Police Department to inquire about their License Plate Recognition (LPR) system and were informed that Ernest Gordon’s work truck hit an LPR heading eastbound on North University Drive and Commercial Boulevard at 5:32 A.M. on November 5th. On the photograph provided on the LPR the license plate had damage on the top left corner that was not present on LPR hits on the 3rd and 4th. More importantly, although there was a bunched up white trash bag or tarp in the back righthand corner of Ernest’s pickup truck, but it was not filled like was previously documented by the FWC Officer an hour before.
A search warrant was issued for Ernest’s work truck on December 2nd which was executed on the 6th along with one for the Gordon residence. Blood enhancement chemicals were utilized which resulted in a positive reaction for possible blood in Wanda’s bedroom, though further lab analysis is required. Similarly, Earnest’s truck showed possible blood in the bed of the truck where the trash bags were seen with the specimens sent to the lab for analysis.
The BSO Digital Forensics Unit further analyzed Wanda’s phone records and found that at 1:08 A.M. on November 5th Wanda’s phone connected with WIFI using the name “GoardonFamily” and disconnected at 3:59 A.M. The “GordonFamily” Wifi device was transmitting from the victim’s residence during that time. Ernest’s cell phone records showed that his phone was in the same geographical location as the victim’s phone on November 5th between 1 and 4 A.M. His phone does not leave the area when hers does, suggesting that Ernest left his phone at or near the residence. The next night at 11:20 P.M., his phone records show his phone was near the location that her phone was left at.
Discovery of Human Remains
The last location recorded for Wanda’s phone was around 10601 State Street in Tamarac, Florida 33321, just 2.78 miles and 7 minutes driving distance from where the Ernest was picked up on LPR at 5:35 A.M. on November 5th. On December 2nd detectives went to that area and did an extensive search which located a black Samsung phone, several articles of clothing, and bunched up red and black dreadlocks, similar to those of Wanda. The IMEI number on the cellphone matched the cellphone listed on Wanda’s T-Mobile records. The area these items were located at was heavily wooded, with white residue on top of the leaves on the ground. The detectives noted the smell of decomposition before they came across what they believed to be a human mandible with teeth intact on the ground of an open path slightly north of where the phone and other items were found. Detectives also noticed that long grass blades were broken midway and overturned facing a northernly direction. Due to a combination of it becoming dark outside and the fact that the area was not easily accessible with large leaves and branches obstructing their path, the search was postponed until the next morning. The area was taped off and continuously guarded by officers until the next day.
When the search resumed, skeletal remains were located north of where the mandible was found. Before continuing the search in an area completely saturated with water, sometimes up to the waist, the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office was asked to respond to the scene. They confirmed that the remains were human in origin. After the rest of the remains were collected including a skull with a missing mandible, they were sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office. The skull had a large fracture on the left side which is consistent with blunt force trauma. Wanda’s daughter, Shataygia, provided buccal swabs for DNA comparison which came back as a match.
Wanda’s Husband Questioned by Police
Ernest agreed to talk to officers again and waived his Miranda Warnings. He restated that he had no contact with Wanda after November 4th, that she never arrived home that night, that he was asleep all night, and that he didn’t leave until around 6:15 A.M. when he left for work. Unlike his original statement to police where he said that he came home earlier in the day after work because it was raining and staff was sent home, Ernest said this time that he did not get home on November 5th until 6:30 P.M. Ernest was then confronted with the stop with the FWC officer and he admitted to being stopped by the officer on the recorded date and time, saying that he forgot to mention it previously. He claimed that he drove down there to clear his head because he had a bad dream about his brother being killed in prison. He also admitted to having trash bags in the back of his truck saying it was “just trash”. When asked where he typically disposes trash with his landscaping job, he told officers that the company has a contract with “Coastal” dumpsite off nowhere near the area where he was stopped with the FWC officer. He stated that he would have no reason to dump the trash at a different dump site.
Ernest told police that after being released by the FWC officer he made no stops, took Interstate 595 to US 441 then headed eastbound on Broward Boulevard, arriving at home around 5:30 A.M. before getting ready for work and leaving the house at 6:15 A.M. Ernest was told that his vehicle was seen on LPR near Commercial Blvd and University Dr at 5:30 A.M. but he said that he did not remember being there and could not explain why the filled trash bags were no longer seen in the back of his vehicle at that time. He responded that the bags were still there, and officers told him he was correct, and the bags were still there, but they were not filled up as was photographed by FWC Officer Morgan. At this point Ernest began to cry and said that he did not know what happened to Wanda.
Wanda’s cellphone was presented to Ernest, and he was asked if he knew who’s phone it was and he said that he did not know. When asked if it belonged to his wife he said “I guess so”. Ernest continued to cry and handed the interviewing officer the spare key to Wanda’s Cadillac that he claimed was missing and asked the officer to give it to Wanda’s eldest daughter. The detective asked him why he was handing him the key and he said he had nothing to say. The officer asked him if he had nothing else to say because he didn’t have answers or because he no longer wished to speak with detectives and he said, “it’s neither of those”. Detectives told him again that he was not yet under arrest and that he was free to leave. He continued to cry but did not confirm or deny involvement in Wanda’s disappearance. Later he said that he wanted to leave, and he was escorted out of the building after his phone was seized as part of evidence in the case.
Ernest was soon arrested on the charge of murder with a depraved mind without premeditation, which is second degree murder.