Leadership, News

Maryland Rescue Squad Deputy Chief Dies of Suicide Amid Child Pornography Investigation

Wheaton deputy died three days after police investigation at home

Kevin Lewis, WJLA/ABC7 with permission

KENSINGTON, Md. (ABC7) — A deputy chief within the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad died by apparent suicide three days after police raided his home in search of child pornography, according to an internal Montgomery County Police Department document obtained by ABC7.

Deputy Chief Jacob DeGlopper, 46, was found dead Sunday at his home along the 11100 block of Lund Place in Kensington. According to the police department document, DeGlopper’s direct supervisor, Chief Mark Dempsey, made the shocking discovery. Montgomery County Police responded to help process the sudden death call.

The internal document goes on to note that Maryland State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had recently launched an investigation into DeGlopper on “child pornography and other related charges.” Authorities believe that probe played a role in DeGlopper’s apparent suicide.

“I saw the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force van parked out front for like eight hours last week,” one of DeGlopper’s neighbors — who asked not to be identified — told ABC7.

A different neighbor explained that police raided DeGlopper’s home around 5 a.m. Thursday by kicking in the front door. Investigators carried out numerous bags, presumably full of evidence, to the ICAC van, plus a handful of unmarked units parked along the street.

“They took six computer blade servers out of the home,” one of DeGlopper’s neighbors noted. “You know, they slide into rack mounts.”

According to his LinkedIn account, DeGlopper worked as a “senior systems administrator” for a Bethesda-based company for the last 16 years. His rescue squad commitment was on a volunteer basis, but still required a significant amount of time and expertise.

“Design, manage, maintain, monitor, and upgrade all network and hosting infrastructure for web design and hosting company,” DeGlopper wrote on LinkedIn about his current job duties. “Manage over 100 physical servers and 150 virtual servers running CentOS and KVM.”

DeGlopper graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring and went on to study computer science at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. According to neighbors, DeGlopper and his wife divorced in 2005. The couple shared one son who reportedly lives with grandparents out of state. Aside from that, neighbors knew very little about the 46-year-old.

“He was like a ghost,” one neighbor shared. “He never really talked. No eye contact. Ever.”

DeGlopper’s father lives in the area and was seen by neighbors stopping by his son’s home on Monday. The first responder’s silver Toyota SUV remained parked in the driveway and portions of his wooden front door were visibly cracked and splintered, likely from when police breached it.

DeGlopper joined the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad in 1990 and rose the ranks over time. His name is no longer listed on the leadership page of the website.

A spokesman for the agency told ABC7 that DeGlopper’s unexpected death has rocked the tight-knit fire-rescue community.

“Our hearts and sympathies go out to his family and all others who are impacted by this tragedy. Crisis counselors are on-site to help members of our Rescue Squad family navigate this difficult time,” Lt. Jay Gruber told ABC7 by email Monday evening. “We want to assure our community that we remain focused on our mission to protect the public’s health and safety and provide emergency services to any person in need.”

The Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad was founded in 1955 and currently maintains a fleet of two heavy rescue squads, four ambulances, two paramedic chase cars, a UTV and several chief vehicles. In 2018, it responded to more than 10,000 calls, making it one of the busiest rescue squad agencies in the country.

Authorities have not said what led them to begin investigating DeGlopper on suspicion of child pornography. No criminal charges had been filed at the time of his death.