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UPDATE: Teacher wanted on child porn charges kills self in Nashville


The once-admired Palm Beach Gardens middle school teacher wanted on federal child pornography charges shot and killed himself in a Nashville, Tenn., hotel Friday afternoon after weeks on the run, according to authorities.

Corey Perry, 33, was approached by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for questioning at the Delux Inn when he shot himself in the head, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department and the FBI. Perry later died at Skyline Medical Center, police said. Police will continue to investigate the “apparent suicide.”

Perry, a teacher at Howell L. Watkins Middle in Palm Beach Gardens, is wanted for producing child pornography that may have included some of his students, the FBI said. On March 24, the school told Perry he was not allowed to return to the school because of the investigation. The same day, FBI agents searched his West Palm Beach home.

Perry was last seen in Fort Lauderdale on March 26. Officials asked parents who thought their children may have been contacted by Perry either through social media or over the phone to come forward.

On Thursday, the teacher’s abandoned rental car was found in Fort Lauderdale with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition. Investigators said they believed Perry had left the area and may have been headed to Nashville, where he grew up.

In addition to the findings, the FBI offered a $25,000 reward for any information that led to his capture.

As of Friday night, it was unclear how investigators located Perry at the hotel in east Nashville, about three miles northeast of the city’s downtown. Neither the FBI nor the Palm Beach County School District would say what triggered the investigation. West Palm Beach police and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office were also involved.

Perry, a graduate of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, was a well-regarded teacher in the county. He was recognized by Florida Gov. Rick Scott for his work in the engineering lab at Watkins and was called “very engaging with the students,” by Beverly Ann Barton, the former principal at of Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School in Riviera Beach, where Perry started his teaching career in the county.

“All the students loved him,” she previously told The Palm Beach Post. Perry was nominated this year for a Dwyer award, given to the district’s top teachers.

Perry taught computer science and was a basketball coach at Watkins and other recreational youth leagues in the county. Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa said Perry may have met some of his alleged victims through sports.

Avossa said he did not know if any of the alleged victims were Watkins students, but said they may be from other schools. Perry has taught in the district since 2005 and has worked at Watkins since 2010, according to records. He has no record of complaints and earned top ratings at the middle school, according to district records.

Perry’s district computers were searched for any explicit materials, but none were found, according to Avossa.

“As a lifelong educator I am disgusted at what I have learned. He has hurt innocent children,” Avossa said in the days after Perry remained on the run. “He broke a sacred and professional code and I cannot and will not forgive him for that.”



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