Authorities revealed that a Maryland judge was found dead on Friday morning in an apparent suicide just as federal officials approached his home in Henderson to arrest the man for alleged child abuse.
Officials identified the suspect as 50-year-old Caroline County Circuit Judge Jonathan Newell who has been on a leave of absence since July. At the time, he was involved in an investigation over accusations of child abuse where he hid a camera that recorded naked photographs of young boys inside his bathroom.
Maryland Judge Suspected of Child Abuse
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents traveled to Newell's home on Friday morning with an arrest warrant under a federal criminal complaint to take the judge into custody. However, officers found the suspect's dead body after he suffered from "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," said the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office on Friday, who noted that the man was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m.
In a news release on Friday afternoon, prosecutors noted that investigation of Newell's apparent suicide will be the responsibility of the Maryland State Police. Kimberly Keith, Newell's neighbor, on Friday posted pictures on Facebook that appeared to show FBI agents outside of the suspect's home, calling him and demanding to come out. The witness said she later heard gunshots followed quickly by sirens of an ambulance, The Daily Beast reported.
Before the suicide, officials decided to file federal charges against Newell, including sexual exploitation of a child, said prosecutors. Maryland State Police responded to a report that a minor discovered a hidden video camera in the suspect's bathroom inside his cabin in Fishing Creek.
Two boys, who were both minors, were interviewed by investigators, where they claimed that they had "spent the night" with Newell on July 22, the day that they discovered the hidden camera. One of the victims said that he was undressing in the bathroom when he found the device, which was turned on and facing the shower, inside a small black crate on a shelf in the corner of the room, Yahoo News reported.
He then told his friend about the camera and they promptly left the home by using Newell's boat and told their parents about the incident. The two boys' parents immediately contacted law enforcement personnel to report the issue.
On the same day, investigators interviewed Newell at his cabin, who waived his Miranda rights and agreed to be questioned. The suspect told police that there were 10 "members" who had access to his cabin who came and went as they pleased. The affidavit said that Newell denied having a hidden camera inside his cabin's bathroom.
Documents noted that the suspect entered his bedroom after the interview to charge his mobile phone and make calls. He was observed by investigators and saw him reach under his bed and place his fist up to his mouth. Investigators suspected that Newell had swallowed evidence because they found a missing memory card from a box with camera equipment. Officials later took him to a hospital for CT scans where it was found that he had ingested a small, metallic object, the Associated Press reported.