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'D.C. Madam' Palfrey 'at peace' in letters to mom, sister

| Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Deborah Jeane Palfrey worried about her elderly mother, envied her younger sister and believed her late father watched over her from above.

In heartfelt letters, the former Charleroi girl who went on to become the D.C. Madam bared her soul before hanging herself Thursday in an outdoor storage shed at a Florida mobile home park.

Police in Tarpon Springs, Fla., on Monday released two suicide notes that Palfrey, 52, of Vallejo, Calif., left for her mother and sister. They were discovered on a bedroom nightstand in her mother's home, where she was staying while awaiting sentencing in federal court.

"I cannot live the next 6-8 (sic) years behind bars for what both you and I have come to regard as this 'modern day lynching' only to come out of prison in my late 50s a broken, penniless and very much alone woman," Palfrey wrote to her 76-year-old mother, Blanche.

"Sure you will not live long enough to see any possible release and Bobbie likely will be unable to shoulder the responsibility of a sister who will be nothing but a mere shell of her former self."

Palfrey was buried Sunday in Cycadia Cemetery in Tarpon Springs. An obituary in the St. Petersburg Times indicated she is survived only by her mother and sister.

Last month, Palfrey was convicted of money laundering, mail fraud and racketeering related to her upscale escort business, Pamela Martin & Associates. Prosecutors estimated she faced about six years in prison for her role in the lucrative prostitution ring that catered to powerful men in the nation's capital.

Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey P. Young said investigators found no evidence to indicate anything other than a suicide by hanging. Police said Palfrey's mother made a frantic call to 911 after discovering her daughter used a nylon rope to hang herself from a ceiling beam.

The Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the cause of death as suicide and indicated that a final autopsy report should be completed this week. Toxicology results are pending.

In a prepared statement, Young said copies of the notes -- each signed "Love always, Debbie" -- were provided to Palfrey's mother and sister, who confirmed her handwriting.

Palfrey's notes included instructions that she was not to be resuscitated and that she did not want to be fed "under any circumstance." She asked her mother to serve as executrix of her estate and apologized for "any pain which I have caused you in this lifetime."

"There is a little surprise waiting for you in the BOA (sic) account. Please use the monies for final arrangements and various account settlement," she wrote. "Again, I love you and Bobbie very much."

Palfrey wrote to her younger sister, Bobbie, that she envied her "happy-go-lucky attitude and the bounty of friends which constantly have surrounded you throughout your life."

She asked her sister to be strong and to help their mother. Their father, Frank, died in 2002.

"You must comprehend there was no way out, i.e. 'exit strategy' for me, other than the one I have chosen here. ... I am at peace. With complete certainty, I believe Dad is standing watch -- prepared to guide me into the light," she wrote.

"I will see you and Mom again someday. Rest assured, if possible, I will watch over each of you from the other side."

Additional Information:

AP video

Click here to see video about the release of Deborah Jeane Palfrey's suicide notes.

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