PFLUGERVILLE, Texas -- A Pflugerville man accused of setting up multiple recording devices in a 13-year-old girl's room has died, and police said it's likely he killed himself.
Police said 48-year-old Patrick Kirkland was found dead sometime during the morning of April 14, but police could not elaborate on any other details surrounding his death except that they're investigating it as a probable suicide.
According to the Pflugerville Police Department, officials received a 9-1-1 call from the girl's mother at 6:41 a.m. Friday, April 6 reporting that the girl had found a camera in the air vent of her bedroom and that Kirkland had placed it there.
Once police arrived at their Pflugerville residence, the mother handed over the camera and said her daughter had told her she showered and was getting ready for school when she saw what she thought was a camera lens in the vent in her bedroom.
According to court documents, the mother said Kirkland then used a ladder to retrieve the camera from the vent and he said he had not placed the camera there, so she called 9-1-1. At the time, police said Kirkland then told the woman that he had something to tell her and admitted to putting the camera there. He reportedly stated that he had drilled a hole in the duct to route a power wire to the camera for security reasons due to the fact the girl frequently locked her door. The documents state that Kirkland said he had installed the camera six months ago and had never activated or used it.
Police said that when they received the camera it was warm, and the girl's mother had noted the same, indicating that there had been power to the camera and it had been turned on.
Upon further investigation, police said the camera had an empty slot for a memory card and it was Wi-Fi capable, meaning it could have been connected or activated by other devices in the home. Police also noted that it had infrared, or low-light capability, for recording images in the dark, and that electrical tape had been placed over the camera's status lights.
Once reading Kirkland his Miranda rights, police said he stated that this was "the end of his life" and that it "did not matter." Court documents state that Kirkland admitted to lying to the girl's mother and telling her he installed the single camera for security reasons. Police said the girl's mother expressed concerns that he would do so without ever consulting her.
Police said Kirkland was then detained and a warrant was granted to search the home for further recording devices.
According to the PFD, the woman stated that Kirkland worked for Dell and his job requires him to understand all technical aspects of computer servers and systems and that he was very "tech savvy."
Officials then assisted her in searching her home. According to court documents, officials found an extension cord hidden under insulation that was routed to the child's room, which was used to power the camera found there. Police then discovered multiple Wi-Fi signals in her room, which later led to the discovery of a camera concealed in her smoke detector and a camera concealed in a USB charger plugged into the girl's bathroom sink area. These devices were also seized and powered off.
Police reported that a memory card was discovered in the USB plug-in camera, revealing date-stamped video of the child exiting the shower and in various states of undress. The memory card also revealed footage of the child discovering the first camera and Kirkland removing it, police said.
According to officials, several other computers and digital storage devices were seized and are awaiting processing.
Additionally, police said the girl's mother also reported an incident where she said Kirkland had found the girl sleepwalking once near the bathroom wearing only a T-shirt, and that Patrick had said he "struggled" with the girl to put her underwear back on. Upon speaking with her mom about the incident, documents state the child had said she thought Kirkland was actually trying to take her underwear off and that she thought it had happened on multiple occasions, but she ultimately dismissed it as a dream.
Police said this separate incident was confirmed via email conversations with the woman's therapist.
Kirkland was charged with invasive visual recording and voyeurism, both state jail felonies.
Amanda Vanhoozer, chief program director for the Center for Child Protection, said the first step to preventing situations like this is communication.
“Our tendency is to not want to believe that that can happen to our kids or someone in our community here in our neighborhood and when a child comes to us and says I don't feel comfortable about this, you need to explore that a little more and figure out what that is,” said Vanhoozer.
She also encourages parents to pay attention to their gut instincts that alert them that something is wrong. Vanhoozer said these situations can have a huge impact on a child, even if there is no physical contact.