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Report: D.C. Madam Palfrey Kills Self in Florida

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"D.C. Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey waits outside the Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after trial hearings, Sept. 7, 2007 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

No confirmation from NPR yet, but Fox News in Tampa Bay, Fla., is reporting that the so-called D.C. Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, has killed herself.

In a story with a Tarpon Springs dateline, the Fox affiliate reports:

Police were called to the home of DC Madam Deborah Jeane Palfrey's mother on Thursday to investigate her apparent suicide.

Police have confirmed that the dead person is Palfrey who was 52.

Fox is seconded by a bulletin from the Associated Press.

Palfrey was convicted on April 15 of running an escort service in the Washington, D.C., area. Palfrey called it a "high-end erotic fantasy service." She argued that she hadn't known her escorts were trading sex for money. The Washington Post reported:

In a gray suit and black boots, her lips and nails stoplight-red as always and her dark hair swirled into a familiar bouffant, Palfrey stood, hands clasped at her waist, maintaining the poise she showed throughout her week-long trial. Then the clerk spoke, and she swayed a bit, lowering her chin ever so slightly and emitting a barely audible groan.

"Guilty," the clerk said four times — guilty of racketeering, money laundering and two counts of using the mail for illegal purposes. The U.S. attorney's office said that under sentencing guidelines, Palfrey probably faces a prison term of four to six years.

Her list of clients contained the names of Beltway movers and shakers. In July, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana admitted to using her escort service and issued a public apology.

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Dan Moldea, the author that was working with Ms.Palfrey on a possible book, said a few moments ago on CNN's Primetime News that Ms. Palfrey told him three times that she was going to kill herself. So why didn't he tell someone? Talk of suicide should always be taken seriously and reproted to a health professional. She could have been 'Baker Act-ed" and would be alive today.

Sent by Kevin Ward | 6:14 PM | 5-2-2008

The bigger issue here is why is this woman paying the ultimate price? Where are the convictions for johns who create the demand for this supply? Or better yet...why is transactional sex illegal? If women (and men) aren't forced into prostitution, are able to use condoms to protect from pregnancy and STIs and enjoy the work, WHY SHOULD WE CARE???

Sent by Morgan Stone | 7:43 PM | 5-3-2008

ever heard of morals?

Sent by vermilion ink | 11:32 PM | 5-4-2008

Ever heard that morality has been hijacked by religion? The government is acting as an arbiter for Christian values in this regard and in many others, and that's a shame. If prostitution were regulated, not only would the economy get a boost, the safety of the women and their clients would exponentially increase.

But no, you're right, it must be God's punishment for them to live in the cracks of society because lawmakers cater to America's religious conservatives.

Sent by Greg | 2:39 PM | 5-5-2008