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Hillsborough teacher dead after arrest in child predator sting

A county spokesperson confirmed the death of Anthony Micheal Peace, 37, who was released from jail Thursday after being arrested on several felony charges.
Anthony Michael Peace, 37, was arrested May 19 on charges of unlawful use of a two-way communications device, use of computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts, and five counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor. He died after being released from jail May 20, a county spokesperson said.
Anthony Michael Peace, 37, was arrested May 19 on charges of unlawful use of a two-way communications device, use of computer services or devices to solicit certain illegal acts, and five counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor. He died after being released from jail May 20, a county spokesperson said. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]
Published May 21
Updated May 21

PLANT CITY — A Strawberry Crest High School teacher arrested earlier this week in an online child predator sting has died, a Hillsborough County spokesperson said Friday.

The spokesperson could not immediately provide a cause of death for Anthony Micheal Peace, 37, but confirmed that the medical examiner’s office had recorded his death.

Peace, a history teacher at Strawberry Crest, was arrested Wednesday on the high school’s campus in Dover after soliciting nude photographs online from an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old boy, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. He faced several felony charges, including five counts of transmission of material harmful to a minor.

He was released from Orient Road Jail on Thursday on $14,000 bail, records show.

The Plant City Police Department said Thursday evening that it was investigating a death on Mendonsa Road, where court records listed a home address for Peace. That case did not appear to involve foul play, police said. A police spokesperson said he could not confirm that Peace was the subject of the death investigation.

Peace had taught at Strawberry Crest since 2010, after four years at Middleton High School, the Times reported Thursday. He lost his job as Strawberry Crest’s wrestling coach while under investigation from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, though no charges were filed in that case.

A school district investigation subsequently found that he’d regularly brought students to his home to spend the night, and that a student was living with him several days a week to attend Strawberry Crest, even though the student’s parents lived in Tampa. Peace was banned from holding another coaching position at a Hillsborough County school.