Authorities found a Kentucky lawmaker dead of probable suicide Wednesday. The lawmaker had been accused of sexually assaulting a girl in 2013 who at the time was a teen, but denied those allegations a day before he was found dead.
Republican State Representative Dan Johnson had a single gunshot wound when found said the County Coroner.
Johnson drove to a bridge southeast of Louisville parked his car and then shot himself, said Sheriff Donnie Tinnell.
Just prior to his death, Johnson posted a long message on social media where he denied the allegations of sexual assault and urged family members to remain strong for his wife.
Relatives of Johnson became concerned for his safety after reading his post and contacted law enforcement, who pinged the cellular phone of the lawmaker and eventually located his vehicle and body, said authorities.
The coroner confirmed it had been a probable suicide and said he received a call Wednesday evening to the scene. Johnson’s body was found inside the front of his truck with a 40-caliber semi-automatic firearm close by.
Only 24 hours prior to his death, Johnson had denied the allegations of sexual assault against him that were detailed in a long investigation.
Johnson’s accuser said the alleged assault had taken place in the early hours New Year’s Day 2013 when she was just 17. The accuser has been identified as Maranda Richmond, who is now 21.
At the time of the alleged assault, Richmond was staying at a living area of Heart of Fire Church in Louisville, where Johnson was a pastor, when he was alleged to have kissed and fondled her underneath her clothing.
The incident was reported by Richmond to authorities four months after it allegedly took place, and an investigation was initially opened by the Louisville Police, but then closed without any charges being filed against Johnson.
On Tuesday, Johnson denied Richmond’s allegations a day after the alleged incident was made public. Johnson said Richmond had been motivated by political opponents.
He said that the allegations concerning the girl did not have any merit.
On Facebook, Johnson posted Wednesday evening prior to his death saying the accusations were false and God is the only one who knows the truth.
Johnson was elected a Kentucky lawmaker even though on Facebook posts he compared then President Barack Obama and Michelle, the first lady, to monkeys.
He ignored calls at that time to drop out of the state House race, and in the end won the election.