HENDERSON, Md. — Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Jonathan G. Newell is dead after sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound early Friday morning, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The apparent suicide occurred when federal agents surrounded the judge’s Henderson, Maryland, residence to arrest him on suspicion of the sexual exploitation of a child, according to criminal complaint documents from the U.S. Department of Justice. 

When FBI agents entered the dwelling, they found Newell suffering from the wound; he was pronounced dead at 6:43 a.m. The Maryland State Police are investigating Newell’s death, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Newell’s arrest follows the Maryland Judiciary’s announcement Tuesday that they would be extending his paid leave until Sept. 23 while authorities continued to investigate allegations of the sexual exploitation of a minor. 

The Maryland native has been on a paid leave of absence since July 26 after police investigators reported to a cabin in Fishing Creek, Maryland, on July 23 to look into sexual abuse claims. 

When police arrived at the cabin, they collected statements from victims, who described a camera recording in a bathroom while a teen was showering, the complaint said.   

Police reports submitted via affidavit, which were included in the formal criminal complaint documents, reveal that further investigation turned up several “digital items,” including an external hard drive with similar sexual content — one with Newell seen setting up the camera. 

At one point, when investigators were in the cabin with Newell in July, he chewed and swallowed a memory device, which was later visible on a medical scan. Newell also turned over a recording device to investigators. 

Newell was appointed as Caroline County Circuit Court judge by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2016. 

A spokesperson for Gov. Hogan directed a request for comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

This article was originally published on CNSMaryland.org on Friday, September 10, 2021.

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