Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Largo puppeteer accused of wanting to cook, eat child waives bail hearing

TAMPA — A Largo puppeteer accused last month of possessing child pornography and harboring fantasies about kidnapping, cooking and eating a young member of his church has waived a bail hearing, a judge said Wednesday.

That means Ronald William Brown, 57, will remain jailed without bail as he awaits trial in U.S. District Court in Tampa on federal charges of possessing child porn and conspiring to kidnap a child.

Prosecutors argue Brown would be a danger to the community and might flee if released.

In a two-page order, Magistrate Judge Thomas Wilson said Brown is free to request a bail hearing at a later date. No trial date is scheduled.

Authorities say Brown had been corresponding online with Kansas resident Michael Arnett about murdering and eating children. Arnett also faces child pornography charges, and federal agents continue to investigate claims Arnett made to Brown that he had cannibalized a child.

Brown, who prosecutors said was targeting a boy at the Gulf Coast Church, worked as a puppeteer for years in local churches and schools.

Brown told authorities he would never have followed through on his fantasies.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents who searched his home said they found lewd images of children bound and gagged, a flier for a missing child and "images of children that appear to be deceased."

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