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MD- Former Associated Press bureau chief for city kills self

10-23-2009 Maryland:

The former chief of the Associated Press' Baltimore bureau committed suicide at his Forest Hill home Saturday evening, a day after he was charged with multiple counts of sexual child abuse, the Harford County sheriff's office told the Aegis newspaper.

John Edward Woodfield Sr., 80, had been free on $100,000 bond since Friday, according to the sheriff's office, when his wife asked deputies to check on him Saturday. When deputies entered Woodfield's home, they found his body in a second-floor bathtub, holding a handgun, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy by the state medical examiner's office ruled his death a suicide.

Woodfield was charged Friday with sexually molesting two boys, ages 7 and 10, for about five years, according to charging documents reported by the newspaper. The boys reported the incidents to members of the county's child advocacy center.

The newspaper said in an article published Wednesday that when Woodfield's wife confronted him about the accusations, he threatened to kill himself if police became involved.

The paper reported that Woodfield was charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor, a second-degree sex offense and a third-degree sex offense.

It also reported that in a call to the sheriff's office Saturday, the wife reported that her husband had found the weapon and bullets she had hidden earlier.

According to the AP, Woodfield worked for the news service for 30 years and was the Baltimore bureau chief for 19 years before retiring in 1991. ..Source.. by Richard Irwin

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