Detective dies after stroke - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Detective dies after stroke

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Posted: Thursday, July 6, 2006 4:59 pm | Updated: 4:36 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Scottsdale detective John Kirkham, who made his mark solving violent crimes and was the lead detective in the Robert Fisher case, died Wednesday morning after suffering a massive stroke three days earlier.

Kirkham, 47, was a member of the Scottsdale Police Department for 16 years.

He had been serving as a detective in the special investigations section for two months after having worked in the Violent Crimes Unit since 1995. Before that, Kirkham served two years as a burglary detective and three years as a patrol officer.

“He was recognized in the police department for the entirety of his work, not just (the Fisher) case,” said police Sgt. Mark Clark. “He was a very good detective, he knew his stuff and could be counted on to get the job done from both his coworkers and the victim’s family.”

While Kirkham was well known and highly decorated for his work, the unsolved Fisher case remains the department’s most notorious, Clark said.

As lead detective, Kirkham worked with the FBI and appeared on national television to discuss the case. Fisher has been charged with killing his wife and two children in April 2001 and triggering an explosion at his Scottsdale home.

He has not been seen since.

Kirkham suffered a massive stroke Sunday.

An e-mail distributed to Scottsdale employees Wednesday announcing his death said his family was by his side when he died.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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