Florida authorities confirmed that Deborah Jeane Palfrey, convicted of running a high-end prostitution ring in Washington, is dead in a suspected suicide, NBC News reported.
The body of the 52-year-old woman was found in a shed near her mother's mobile home Thursday morning in Tarpon Springs, about 20 miles northwest of Tampa. Police said in a statement that she left a suicide note, but they did not disclose its contents or how she killed herself.
Police did not immediately have additional comment when reached by telephone. Her attorney, Preston Burton, did not return a telephone call and e-mail message.
Palfrey, known as the "D.C. Madam," was convicted April 15 by a federal jury of running a prostitution service that catered to members of Washington's political elite, including Sen. David Vitter, R-La. She had denied her escort service engaged in prostitution, saying that if any of the women engaged in sex acts for money, they did so without her knowledge.
I can't help but be a little skeptical, though:
Brandy Britton was a professor at the University of Maryland, with a Ph.D. in sociology when she started to work as a call girl for the D.C. Madam.
Jeane Palfrey: This is a woman who was divorced, who was trying to raise two, ah, high-school children, college-age children. Great job title, the great position, all the respect in the world, but she wasn't making enough money. So she decided to do a little moonlighting.
Last October, as the investigation into the D.C. Madam was gaining steam, Professor Britton was arrested by local police on prostitution charges, making big headlines in Baltimore.
Jeane Palfrey: And she was publicly outed, is a good way to put it, she was absolutely humiliated. Ah, she couldn't take the humiliation. Her whole life was destroyed. And she, she just, ah, ultimately committed suicide.
Jeane Palfrey says she's been humiliated too, but she won't let the government bring her down without a fight.
Jeane Palfrey: I just keep my head high. I guess I'm made of something that Brandy Britton wasn't made of. You know, I, I've got something in me. What that is, it's, it can't be defined, but there's something in me that won't let 'em get away with it. And I'm not going to let these bastards get away with it.
Sound like someone who would kill herself?