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Subway spokesman Jared Fogle's home in suburban Indianapolis was searched by police and federal agents on Tuesday as part of a child pornography investigation involving the former head of his nonprofit foundation, law enforcement officials told NBC News.
The development led the sandwich chain to distance themselves from Fogle and "suspend" their relationship.
For much of the day, Fogle's Zionsville house was surrounded by police cars and officers as agents hauled electronic equipment, including a computer, to an evidence truck parked in the driveway. At one point, Fogle, 37, stepped from his home and entered the truck. He later got into a car with his lawyer and was driven away.
The lawyer, Ron Elberger, released a statement saying Fogle had not been held, arrested or charged with any crime. "Jared has been cooperating, and continues to cooperate, with law enforcement in their investigation of unspecified charges and looks forward to its conclusion," Elberger said.
The search came more than two months after the arrest of Russell Taylor, who served as executive director of the Jared Foundation, which works to prevent childhood obesity. Taylor, 43, was charged with multiple counts of producing and possessing child pornography following a raid of his Indianapolis home, where investigators said they found a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos of children allegedly filmed by Taylor.
Among the evidence was a thumb drive that included videos of child porn and a document file with Taylor's employer listed in the file name, according to a federal criminal complaint. The complaint did not mention the Jared Foundation, or Fogle.
At the time, Fogle said in a statement that he was shocked at the charges and that his foundation was severing all ties to Taylor.
Now the case threatens to damage Fogle's reputation as a wholesome representative of one of the country's largest restaurant chains.
His relationship with Subway began nearly two decades ago, when the company heard about his story of losing 245 pounds by subsisting on a steady diet of its sandwiches. He did a commercial, featuring his "fat pants," and became a pop culture icon. In 2006, he started the Jared Foundation.
A Subway spokesman responded to word of Tuesday's search with a statement in which the company said it knew little about it. "We are shocked about the news and believe it is related to a prior investigation of a former Jared Foundation employee," the company said.
Some pages about Fogle, and the Jared Foundation, appeared to have been removed from Subway's website.
Later in the day, the company announced that it and Fogle had "mutually agreed to suspend their relationship due to the current investigation."
Subway's statement added: "Jared continues to cooperate with authorities and he expects no actions to be forthcoming.”