A lawyer shot himself to death as jurors began deliberating whether he sexually assaulted two foster children he had been assigned to protect, authorities said Wednesday.

Andrew Dunn (search), 40, a law guardian for children appearing in Rochester's family court, didn't arrive at his trial Tuesday, setting off a manhunt that ended later that day when troopers found his body on an embankment next to a creek.

Dunn shot himself in the head with a 9-mm rifle he took from his brother's home, where he had been staying, and left a brief note that did not address his guilt or innocence, said William John, a senior investigator with the state police.

Dunn was accused of sodomizing and sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in 2002 and another boy from 1997 to 2003, when the child turned 13.

Jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday without reaching a verdict.

"The thing these boys wanted most was for people to believe that Mr. Dunn did the things they said he did," prosecutor Cara Briggs said. "Now they'll never have that chance."

Dunn vehemently denied the charges when he testified during the trial.

Dunn, who had posted $25,000 bond, could have been sentenced to up to 50 years in prison if convicted.