A man previously under investigation in connection with his wife’s disappearance has been apprehended on child pornography charges, according to information obtained by PEOPLE. Brett Baldwin, the 43-year-old resident of Wildwood, Florida, whose wife Nicole Baldwin went missing on November 2, was arrested on a federal charge related to possessing child pornography on Thursday afternoon, as per Marion County jail records.
Baldwin held in custody without bond as of Friday morning, is currently the subject of a “missing person investigation,” according to local WKMG reports. The inquiry into his wife’s disappearance led to his arrest on the federal child pornography charge.
Detectives involved in the missing person case reportedly seized Baldwin’s iPhone last month, intending to find evidence related to the disappearance. However, during the search of the phone, authorities allegedly discovered 31 images and videos depicting child sex abuse, as reported by local WESH.
The Department of Homeland Security is now handling Baldwin’s case, and his arrest took place at his mother’s residence, where he had recently moved with his two daughters. Alisha Baldwin, his daughter, described the morning of the arrest to WESH, mentioning a forced entry into the house and the use of flashbangs, causing stress for her grandmother.
Alisha emphasized that her father’s arrest is unrelated to her mother’s disappearance. Nicole Baldwin was reported missing on November 5, three days after her last sighting by Alisha at the family’s former residence in Mount Dora. Nicole’s personal belongings, including her Apple watch, purse, cards, and car, were found at the home, according to Fox 35.
The Mount Dora Police Department recently announced a $5,000 reward for information regarding Nicole’s disappearance, urging community support to ensure her safe return.
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.