SDPD sergeant accused of sex crimes found dead after missing court appearance

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SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego police sergeant facing charges of soliciting minors for sex failed to show up for his arraignment Monday before being found dead at his home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Officers trying to serve an arrest warrant on Joseph Ruvido, 49, forced entry at his Carmel Valley residence and found his body shortly before 4:30 p.m., according to SDPD officials.

Ruvido had shot himself, San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit told reporters at a news conference Monday night.

"All signs, all indications are that this is a suicide," Nisleit said.

Ruvido had been charged earlier in the day with two counts of arranging a meeting with a juvenile with sexual intent and one count of attempted lewd acts on a minor between the ages of 14 and 15. He faced four years in state prison and lifetime sex-offender registration if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Stephen Marquardt.

Ruvido was taken into custody July 26, two days after San Diego police received a Crime Stoppers tip identifying him among others who allegedly had solicited minors for sex. He posted $100,000 bail soon afterward.

Marquardt alleged that the illegal acts occurred on July 6 but declined to comment further on the specifics of the case.

After Ruvido, a 21-year department member assigned to the SDPD Watch Commander's Office, failed to show up for his initial court hearing Monday afternoon in downtown San Diego, Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan issued a warrant for his arrest.

Prior to becoming a sergeant, Ruvido served as a patrol officer, first in the SDPD's Southeast Division and then in its East Division, Nisleit said.

Ruvido, who had been on unpaid leave, lived alone in a rented home and had no wife or children, Nisleit said.

Funeral arrangements will be decided by Ruvido's family, according to Nisleit.

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