Pinal County detention officer found dead in jail cell; accused of sexual misconduct with boy

MESA, Ariz. (FOX 10) - A Pinal County detention officer accused of having sex with a 15-year-old boy has been found dead inside his jail cell.

According to court documents, 48-year-old Robert Bruce Hunter was charged with 20 counts of felony sexual conduct with a minor.

The Mesa man reportedly worked for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office Detention for 10 years. News of Hunter's arrest were announced by Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb in a Facebook video earlier on Friday, but Sheriff Lamb did not name Hunter by name.

(Can't see the video? Click here)

"Obviously, these are allegations that we take very serious," said Sheriff Lamb, in the video posted Friday. "That employee has been placed on administrative leave. We're working hand-in-hand with the Mesa Police Department to ensure that we can assist in their investigation."

According to documents, detectives learned on December 20, via a tip on an unnamed social media site, that an adult man was communicating with a juvenile male, and that they had med for sexual contact in the past, and were planning on meeting again for sexual contact. Detectives were able to link the accounts involved to Hunter and a 15-year-old boy.

The messages sent between the two accounts contained contents described by court documents as extremely sexually explicit. The teen was later interviewed, who said he met Hunter via a dating app between August 2017 and August of 2018, and had met, in person, five times between August and November 2018 for sexual encounters. Court documents also described the encounters, in highly graphic details.

Court documents say during an interview that happened after Hunter was read his Miranda rights, he admitted to using a dating app to meet other gay men, and refused to answer any questions specifically related to the victim.

Officials say Hunter was found dead inside his cell at the Lower Buckeye jail.

The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death.

FOX 10 reported on this story from Phoenix.