A MARYLAND judge shot himself dead as the FBI swooped in to arrest him for allegedly filming naked boys.
Authorities showed up at the home of Jonathan Newell, 50, on Friday morning to arrest him on a federal criminal complaint and found him dead from an “apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
A statement from the US Attorney’s Office confirmed that the judge was pronounced dead just before 7am at the scene.
“This morning agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation went to the residence of Jonathan Newell, age 50, of Henderson, Maryland, to arrest him on a federal criminal complaint filed on September 9, 2021,” the statement says.
“Upon entering the residence the agents found Newell suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Maryland State Police will lead the investigation into the apparent suicide, according to the statement.
Newell had been on a leave of absence since July due to an investigation over allegations that he had used a hidden camera in his bathroom to capture naked images of boys.
The apparent suicide came was Newell was set to be taken into custody on federal charges of sexual exploitation, prosecutors said.
His neighbor, Kimberly Keith, posted pictures that appeared to show FBI agents outside of his house on Friday morning. She wrote that she heard sounds that she believed were gunshots.
A criminal complaint, which was unsealed Friday, said that investigators received a report that a minor had found a video camera in the bathroom of Newell’s cabin in Fishing Creek, Maryland, in July.
INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED IN JULY
Two boys, both minors, said they had spent the night with Newell on July 22 when they claim that they discovered the camera.
One of the boys said that he was undressing in the bathroom when he found a device that was facing the shower inside a small black crate on a bathroom shelf.
The boy then told the other minor about the camera, and both informed their parents, according to the criminal complaint.
The parents then contacted the police.
The boy who found the camera said that two adults and four boys were staying overnight in the cabin.
When confronted by law enforcement about the camera, Newell denied placing it in the bathroom, saying “there were six other people here.”
While he was being interviewed, authorities believe Newell swallowed a camera memory card after asking to charge his phone, the complaint says.
SEVERAL TEENS INTERVIEWED
During the course of the investigation, authorities interviewed several other teens and executed search warrants for Newell’s cabin, home, truck, boat, and office.
They discovered a hard drive that had multiple videos of young men showering on it, the complaint says.
The videos appeared to date back to 2014.
Newell was also captured in some of the footage, including one video where he is touching the naked buttocks of a young man, the complaint says.
At least two of the teens who were interviewed said that while they showered at Newell’s home or cabin, he would “check their bodies for ticks.”