BALTIMORE — A sitting Caroline County Circuit Court judge took his own life before FBI agents could arrest him.
Jonathan G. Newell, 50, was under federal investigation for alleged sexual exploitation of several minors.
Federal authorities filed a criminal complaint against Newell on Thursday, and showed up at his Henderson home Friday morning to take him into custody.
Agents made their way inside around 6:43am, to find Newell suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The probe launched in July after a boy spent the night with Newell at his cabin in Fishing Creek.
Court documents say the boy found a camera inside a bathroom recording as he was undressing to take a shower.
The boy told his parents who called police.
After questioning Newell at the cabin, investigators became suspicious that he might have chewed and swallowed the SD card from the camera.
A CT scan of Newell's chest and abdomen found that he'd ingested a foreign, possibly metallic substance.
From there, agents carried out several search warrants at properties belonging to Newell.
Multiple electronic devices were recovered that contained videos of boys unclothed and showering.
Investigators ended up interviewing seven other males, a majority who said they'd known and stayed with Newell in the past.
Most recalled times when Newell would check their body for ticks, which was confirmed by agents who reviewed video evidence.
A native of Chestertown, Newell began his law career began in 1999.
He was appointed to the bench on August 2, 2016 after spending 13-years as the elected State's Attorney for Caroline County.
Before that he served two-years as a county Public Defender and another two-years as a Deputy State's Attorney in Kent County.
The Maryland Judiciary confirmed Newell's death, but refused any further comment.
WMAR-2 News has reached out to his attorney, but have yet to receive a response.