Thursday, May 1, 2008

"DC Madam" may have Killed Herself: Florida police

May 1, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - A woman convicted of running a prostitution ring catering to Washington's elite apparently committed suicide at her mother's home in Florida on Thursday, police said.

Police in the Gulf Coast town of Tarpon Springs said they found the body of a woman they believe to be Deborah Jeane Palfrey. She was found guilty last month of running an escort service that earned her at least $2 million.

The identity of the woman found in a storage shed alongside the mobile home of Palfrey's mother has not yet been fully confirmed, the police said in a statement.

"Hand written notes were found on scene that describes the victim's intention to take her life, and foul play does not appear to be involved," the statement added.

The scandal over the woman dubbed "the D.C. madam" ensnared Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, whose telephone number was discovered in her phone records.

He apologized publicly for committing a "serious sin" in his past. Palfrey had not yet been sentenced.

Palfrey had insisted her company, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legal sexual fantasy business and initially considered selling her phone records in order to raise money for her defense. When she later released her phone records for free, they ended up shedding little further light on her clientele.

Her attorney, Montgomery Sibley, said he did not have any additional information.

"My only comment is that I regret the loss of a good woman who deserved better," he said.

(Reporting by Robert Green, Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington, Writing by Michael Christie, Editing by Xavier Briand)

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