Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 or (727) 445-4162.

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

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the warm response from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute were proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette


    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  3. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494
  4. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 139, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 139 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  5. Hurricane Maria's winds hit 175 mph as it aims at Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico on Tuesday night after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually …

    A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]