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Police report confirms D.C. Madam's suicide

TARPON SPRINGS — Police have said all along that Deborah Jeane Palfrey committed suicide.

On Thursday, the Tarpon Springs Police Department affirmed that finding, releasing a 48-page investigative report and nearly 400 crime scene photos. The investigation has been closed, but the Police Department has yet to release some supplemental reports, said police spokeswoman Lt. Barbara Templeton.

There were no signs of struggle or forced entry and no signs of trauma to the body of the so-called D.C. Madam who was found hanged May 1 in a shed next to her mother's manufactured home.

The report should put an end to speculation that Palfrey was murdered, Templeton said.

Palfrey, who was 52, had been convicted in mid April of racketeering and money laundering while running a prostitution service and was facing a federal prison sentence of six to eight years. Her sentencing was scheduled for July 24.

In the days and weeks following her death, the Internet was awash in suggestions that Palfrey was murdered to keep her from releasing the identities of powerful political clients. Conspiracy theorists repeatedly referenced a comment she made during a March radio interview in which she said she had no intention of taking her own life.

But people interviewed by police said Palfrey seemed despondent.

A few new details were disclosed in the report:

• Palfrey appeared depressed when she received pre-incarceration paperwork the day before she died, according to her mother, Blanche Palfrey.

• On the night before she died, Palfrey and her mother watched videos of Deborah's deceased father.

• Handwriting from two suicide notes left on a bedside table matches handwriting from Palfrey's appointment book and other documents in her possession.

• A fingerprint on one of the handwritten notes was analyzed and confirmed as Palfrey's.

• About an hour elapsed from the time Blanche Palfrey last saw her daughter alive and when she found her body.

On Thursday, Tarpon Springs police allowed a St. Petersburg Times reporter to view the photos, which are protected from being copied or published under a judge's order.

Most of the 391 photos were taken inside Blanche Palfrey's home, including the spare bedroom the younger Palfrey had been occupying.

Rita Farlow can be reached at farlow@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4162.

Police report confirms D.C. Madam's suicide 10/30/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 3:02pm]
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