Let the conspiracy theories begin: DC madam found dead in FL
(CNN) — Deborah Jeane Palfrey, known as the “D.C. Madam,” was found dead in Florida Thursday, according to Tarpon Springs police.
Palfrey hanged herself in a storage shed on her mother’s property where she had been staying, according to a police statement. Palfrey’s mother, 76-year-old Blanche Palfrey, found the body, police said.
“Blanche Palfrey had awoken from a nap and began to search the residence for her daughter,” the statement said. “When she went outside, she noticed a three-wheel bicycle had been moved that was normally kept in the shed.” The older woman then saw her daughter’s body hanging from a metal beam under the shed’s roof, police said.
“The mother’s obviously distraught,” said Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey Young. “This is the hardest part in any type of situation like this, when you have a suicide. It’s all the victims that are left behind.”
In an earlier statement, police said, “handwritten notes were found on scene that describes (sic) the victim’s intention to take her life, and foul play does not appear to be involved.”
The Pinellas County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death, police said.
She gave a few warning signs in the weeks and months prior:
Palfrey was convicted last month in connection with a high-end prostitution ring catering to Washington’s elite.
She was found guilty April 15 of money laundering, racketeering and mail fraud and faced a maximum 55-year prison term at her sentencing, which was scheduled for July 24.
Prosecutors estimated she would have received a sentence between 57-71 months, about six years, because of sentencing guidelines and other factors that would have been taken into account.
“I’m looking at 55 years in a federal penitentiary and at my age that is virtually a life sentence,” Palfrey told CNN Radio in March. “Realistically we estimate between 8 and 15 years. I’m also looking at the complete forfeiture of my entire life savings and work.”
Palfrey told ABC News last year she would never return to prison, after serving time in the 1990s for other prostitution-related charges. “I sure as heck am not going to be going to federal prison for one day, let alone, you know, four to eight years.”
Here’s more from that ABC interview:
In an interview last year, Palfrey vowed to fight the federal prosecutors who brought the charges against her. “They just destroy you on every level, financially, emotionally, psychologically,” she said, but still she refused to accept any deal they offered.
In the interview, she contrasted herself with Brandy Britton, a woman who once worked as a prostitute — apparently for a time with Palfrey’s service, Palfrey’s phone records reflected — who committed suicide after charges were brought against her.
“She committed suicide because of the police and the prosecutor,” Palfrey said then, arguing that prostitution should be legal because the prosecutions are more harmful than the business itself. “They, they had to push it, in the name of justice. I’d like to know what justice they’re talking about.”
Even though it’s pretty clear this was a suicide, I’m sure there will be no shortage of conspiracy theorists on the left who will allege Palfrey was murdered because she “knew too much” about Republican “extracurricular activities.” Already, you’ll find that some on the left feel that Palfrey was a victim of a modern day “persecution” and “stoning” by an overzealous Republican justice department (sound familiar?).
Whatever. Let them have their conspiracy theories. My only reaction to this story is one of sympathy for the mother, who found her daughter hanging and dead, which is an image I’m sure she’ll live with for the rest of her life, one she’ll never get out of her head. I also weep for Ms. Palfrey. A model citizen she certainly wasn’t, one can only guess as to the level of internal emotional agony – and perhaps guilt – she felt. Obviously had to be high for her to feel like her family and the world would be better off without her. What all goes through the minds of those who kill themselves, right before they pull the trigger or kick the chair from under them or slit their wrists? I can only imagine, and it gives me such an intensely sad feeling, because all I can think about is the last gasps those people take, sitting in a room all alone thinking they have no hope, no future, and that no one loves them.
My deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers go out to her mother.