Suicide follows Coupeville school volunteer's child porn arrest
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
May 13, 2011 · Updated 12:40 PM
A man who volunteered in the drama department at Coupeville schools killed himself after being arrested for possessing child pornography, according to the Island County Sheriff's Office.
Detective Ed Wallace said the FBI provided the sheriff's office and the Coupeville Marshal's Office with initial information that 56-year-old Coupeville resident Charles Skow was in possession of child pornography.
As part of a joint operation, investigators from both offices served a search warrant on Skow's home on April 28 and seized a computer and associated storage devices.
Wallace, the department's computer expert, said an initial examination of the computer and storage media revealed numerous images and movies of child porn.
As a result, Skow was booked and held in Island County jail. On April 29, Island County Superior Court Judge Vickie Churchill found probable cause for Skow's arrest on suspicion of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit activities.
The judge released Skow on his personal recognizance and ordered him not to have contact with minors.
On May 5, the Coupeville Marshal’s Office received a request for a welfare check at Skow’s residence. A deputy marshal found Skow dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the sheriff's office.
Patty Page, superintendent of Coupeville schools, confirmed that Skow was a volunteer in the schools' drama program. He worked building sets.
"I understand that his involvement has been minimal over the last few years," she said, adding that he spent more time volunteering at the school years ago.
After being notified of the arrest, Page said she pulled Skow's volunteer status immediately. She said Skow, under district policy, never had unsupervised contact with students.
Wallace said detectives have no reason to believe any of the pornographic images involved children from Whidbey Island. He said the investigation has ended with Skow's death.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.