Firefighter Facing Federal Charges Commits Suicide

Firefighter Facing Federal Charges Commits Suicide

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A former Salt Lake County fire official accused to trying to entice a minor over the Internet was found dead in Tooele County Sunday from an apparent suicide.

Dennis Steadman, 54, was found dead in his SUV south of Stockton on range land roughly three miles west of Faust Road and Utah 73.

Tooele County sheriff's Sgt. Brad Patch said a drier hose hooked to the tailpipe of Steadman's car had pumped exhaust into the vehicle.

Steadman was reported missing Friday by his wife. Holly Steadman last spoke to her husband by cell phone about 6:50 p.m. Friday, about five hours after he left home, Patch said. Steadman's last call was traced to Tooele County.

Steadman was arrested Feb. 16 during an undercover operation after arranging to meet a 13-year-old girl, who actually was an undercover police officer with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

He was charged in federal court with one count of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, and his trial was set for May 18.

After his arrest, Steadman resigned as a battalion chief with the Unified Fire Authority.

He was charged last week with shoplifting. Prosecutors alleged that on April 18, Steadman had presented a cashier with an old receipt and tried to return an item he'd just taken from the shelves of a Murray electronics store.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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