A Maryland judge committed suicide just as federal law enforcement showed up at his home Friday morning to arrest him on child porn charges.

A Caroline County Circuit Court judge, Jonathan Newell, was found dead in his home shortly before 6:45 am by federal agents. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The FBI had shown up shortly after 6 am demanding that Newell came out of his home when neighbors claimed they heard a gunshot go off.

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Federal agents had gone to Newell’s home to arrest him for sexual exploitation of a child. He had allegedly filmed boys naked at his cabin. Newell had been on leave since July when one of the boys he had taken to the cabin discovered a camera in the bathroom and called his parents. At least two boys claimed that Newell had checked them for ticks while they were naked.

“One stated that he moved his own genitalia for Newell to look for ticks, and the other initially did not recall if Newell touched his genitalia, but later stated that Newell once or twice moved the minor’s genitalia to look for ticks,” FBI Special Agent Rachel Corn 

Newell’s home, truck, and law office were raided by law enforcement. They discovered a hard drive in his den that contained many videos of young men showering naked. In one of the videos, you can see Newell setting up the camera, and another video captures him checking a naked boy for ticks. Newell denied setting up the camera.

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At one point during the search, he was caught chewing up and swallowing a memory card. He was taken to the hospital for a CT scan which showed a foreign object in his body.

“The investigator heard a loud, distinguishable, ‘crunch,’ sound from the area of Newell’s mouth. After another minute or two, the investigator heard the same ‘crunch’ again from Newell’s mouth, followed by Newell immediately reaching for and drinking from a cup located on his dresser.” – documentation from FBI.

The Maryland State Police will lead the investigation into the suicide.

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