‘She just had a big heart’: What friends want you to know about Erin Hartigan, attorney killed in Orlando home

ORLANDO, Fla. — Erin Hartigan was quiet and shy. She fed stray cats and volunteered as a guardian ad litem. She survived cancer not once, but twice.

Four days ago the 44-year-old attorney was found dead in her home following what police have referred to as a seemingly random attack.

William Franklin, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in her death.

READ: Man accused of killing Orlando attorney ‘obviously experiencing effects’ of drugs before going missing from hospital, police say

But friends and family want Hartigan to be remembered for more than how she died.

“I would just like Erin to be remembered through the eyes of those who knew and loved her,” a friend and former coworker said.

The coworker, who asked to remain anonymous, said Haritgan was shy, beautiful and brilliant. She was a homebody who loved to read was always there to listen and help.

READ: ‘It’s terrifying’: Neighbors in community where Orlando attorney was killed demand action

She said that if Hartigan had met the man police suspect killed her and he had asked for help, she likely would have done what she could to help him.

“She just had a big heart,” the coworker said.

Hartigan worked as an attorney in Orange County and at Orlando City Hall, but she started in Lake County.

Coworkers there said they were devastated and unsure about how and why someone picked her house to enter.

A coworker said it is terrible to think someone can go through so much and beat cancer twice, but then lose their life in such a violent way.

READ: Man found hiding in backyard arrested after Orange County attorney found dead inside home, police say

“Because when you face cancer, I think for any of us that’s the worst diagnosis you can possibly get,” the coworker said. “But then to survive and be murdered in your home in a senseless killing...well I don’t even have words for that. It’s just not right.”

It’s something her friends and family may never be able to wrap their heads around.

“Because if you ever had the pleasure of knowing her,” her coworker said, “you would have loved her.”

Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.