Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander's former chief of staff Ryan Loskarn, who was charged last month with the possession and distribution of child pornography, was found dead in his Maryland home Thursday following an apparent suicide.
Officials with the Carroll County, Md., Sheriff's Department said law enforcement officials responded to a private home in Sykesville at about noon Thursday in response to a report of an unconscious, possibly dead man
, reports The Tennessean in Nashville.
"Family members reported finding 35-year old Jesse Ryan Loskarn unresponsive in his basement where he’d been residing with family since this past December," the sheriff's department report says. "The preliminary investigation indicates that Loskarn may have taken his own life, and his body has since been transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy.”
Loskarn, 35, was arrested on Dec. 11
at his residence in Washington and charged with possession of and distribution of child pornography. Alexander fired him the same day.
Reacting to news of his apparent suicide, the Republican senator said in a statement Friday, "For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end."
Federal prosecutors and Loskarn's attorneys agreed on Dec. 18 to extend filing an indictment in the case until Feb. 10, a move that would allow for a possible plea agreement in the case.
Loskarn had been released to the custody of his parents in the meantime and was ordered to stay off the Internet and to wear a monitoring bracelet on his ankle.
According to court documents, Loskarn allegedly made several purchases between November 2010 and March 2011 from a website that offered child pornography DVDs. He was also charged with distributing child pornography to others via his home computer.
If Loskarn had been convicted, he would have faced up to 10 years for possession of child pornography and between five and 20 years for distribution.
The Maryland native graduated from Tulane University in 2000, moving to Washington after college, reports Politico.
He worked as communications director for Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, later moving on to work with Arizona GOP Sen. Jon Kyl running messaging operations. Loskarn joined Alexander's office, later becoming his chief of staff, after the Tennessee lawmaker won the Senate GOP Conference chairman's post in 2007.
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