WINTER PARK, Fla. — Rev. Bryan Fulwider, a former WMFE radio show co-host who was charged with child sexual abuse, has been found dead, according to the Altamonte Springs Police Department.
- Police: Bryan Fulwider may have taken his life
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Police arrived at around 11:50 p.m. Sunday at the home of the former Winter Park pastor's home on the 600 block of Post Oak Circle in Altamonte Springs.
"Bryan Fulwider was pronounced deceased on scene," said Altamonte Springs Police public information officer Michelle Sosa in a media release. "At this time it appears to have been a suicide; however, it is still pending the final report from the Medical Examiner’s Office."
Fulwider posted a $700,000 bond on Wednesday, Oct. 16, after spending two weeks behind bars at the Orange County Jail. He was released overnight.
Fulwider was facing more than 30 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Authorities think the alleged abuse happened over a five-year period, from 2005 to 2010, when Fulwider was the senior pastor at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.
The alleged victim released a statement on Fulwider's death Monday:
"Unfortunately, the suicide of Bryan Fulwider comes as no shock to me or other victims of childhood trauma. Fulwider’s day in court will never come because he knew all the truths I could tell. My story doesn’t stop with his cowardice though; I will work in the coming months to get justice for myself and any other victims impacted by Fulwider’s abuse. I want to sincerely thank the Winter Park Police Department for their vigilance and belief in victims. I’m thinking of Fulwider’s other victims and hope they are well tonight."
Fulwider's attorney Jacob Stuart has claimed there is no truth to the charges. He also released a statement on Fulwider's death, in which he said, in part:
"Knowing these are my personal feelings, and acknowledging my feelings as an attorney are far less generous to the process, since I am deeply disappointed and disturbed in how our legal system, members of the media, and our community have treated Reverend Fulwider. Since the “charges” were first made only days ago.
Make no mistake, when you are facing criminal charges—when the full force of the government is aligned against you—your freedom, your family, your career and your reputation are all at risk—even when you are innocent."
State Rep. Anna Eskamani told Spectrum News 13, “He had said he was innocent, but that he took his life, I think is a reflection of that he was guilty, and that he didn’t have the courage to face his accuser.”
Fulwider co-hosted a popular radio show on WMFE called "Friends Talking Faith," in which a rabbi, an imam, and a pastor spoke about social and faith-based issues. The show went on indefinite hiatus after Fulwider's charges were announced.
WMFE is one of Spectrum News 13's media partners. The radio station has no editorial control or financial interest in the show.