D.C Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, Apparently Commits Suicide To Avoid Jail

Deborah Jeane Palfrey while awaiting sentencing for running a prostitution ring catering to Washington's elite has been found dead in a storage shed at her mother's home in Florida.

Police in the Gulf Coast town of Tarpon Springs said the 76-year-old mother of Deborah Jeane Palfrey woke from a short nap and began to search for her daughter.

She found Palfrey's body in the shed next to her mobile home, police said.

"Hand-written notes were found on scene that describe the victim's intention to take her life, and foul play does not appear to be involved," Captain Jeffrey Young said.

Palfrey, 52, was found guilty last month of running an escort service that earned her at least $US2 million ($2.12 million). She had not yet been sentenced but media reports said she could have faced up to 50 years in prison.

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

Senator Vitter apologised publicly for committing a "serious sin" in his past.

Palfrey had insisted her company, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legal sexual fantasy business and initially considered selling her phone records to raise money for her defence.

When she later released her phone records for free, they ended up shedding little further light on her clientele.

Her lawyer, Montgomery Sibley, said he did not have any additional information about her death.

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


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