A state employee who was fired this week after being accused of running a prostitution ring from his office was found shot to death Friday, apparently from a self-inflicted wound, police said.
James A. Bunch, 46, who had worked for 23 years at the Department of Human Services, was found in a parking lot near his office. He had been fired Tuesday after being arrested on charges of aggravated promotion of prostitution, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The arrest had set off intense speculation in the state capital about the 400 or so clients of Aimes Escorts whose names and sexual preferences were listed on index cards seized by police. Authorities said Bunch ran the business for two years by using a state computer and telephone.
Police confirmed that a state legislator was among the clients listed, but declined to identify the occupations of others.
Bunch was interrogated after his arrest but did not appear to be distraught or suicidal, Deputy Chief Ken Williams said.
“It’s been my experience that when people . . . take their own lives, many times they do it in an area that is familiar to them, whether that be their home or their business,” Police Lt. David Parkinson said.
The apparent suicide left his co-workers shaken.
“All of our staff is still in a state of shock about the whole incident,” said Mike Jones, an agency spokesman. “We are just an agency of about 17,000 people and most of us come to work every morning and just do our jobs.”
Bunch had said Thursday that the case had been exaggerated.
“I want to cooperate,” he told the Associated Press. “I want to help. But you need to talk with my attorney. I’m sorry I can’t help more.”
Police said they found a .38-caliber pistol near Bunch’s body and some “written material,” which they declined to release, in his truck.
Parkinson said an employee arriving for work found Bunch’s body just after 7 a.m. in a remote part of the agency’s parking lot.