A former top Senate aide accused of possessing child pornography was found dead in a possible suicide Thursday, the Carroll County, Md., Sheriff's Department confirmed.
At about noon Thursday, family members reported finding 35-year-old Jesse Ryan Loskarn unresponsive in his parents' basement in the 6900 block of Kenmar Lane in Sykesville, according to the sheriff's department. The preliminary investigation found he may have killed himself. His body was taken to the medical examiner for autopsy.
"We loved our son very much, and we're devastated by his death," read a statement from his parents. "Please respect our privacy at this difficult time and let us grieve in peace. Pray for him, his family and friends."
Loskarn, the former chief of staff of Sen. Lamar Alexander, R- Tenn., had been living in his parents' home since Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola released him to their custody Dec. 16. The judge had ordered he wear a monitoring device and not use the Internet.
"For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end," Sen. Alexander said in a statement Friday.
Loskarn was arrested in December at his southeast D.C. home as a result of a child pornography investigation involving U.S. and Canadian authorities, who identified him as a customer of a company that sold DVDs and downloads. Those videos, according to investigators, showed children as young as 5 or 6 years old involved in sexual acts with other minors or adults. Loskarn was accused of offering one video for distribution on a peer-to-peer file sharing network.
As investigators were at Loskarn's front door to arrest him, he was seen placing a computer hard drive outside a rear window, according to court documents. Authorities found images of children engaged in sex acts on it.
Alexander replaced Loskarn as chief of staff after the arrest.
Judge Facciola had explained his decision to release Loskarn to his parents, rather than keeping him in custody, in a memo. The judge said Loskarn's parents had assured the court the only devices in their home that could access the internet were iPads protected with a password they would not share with Loskarn, so the risk of Loskarn downloading more child pornography was not great.
Loskarn faced up to 10 years on the possession charge and a minimum of five and maximum of 20 years on the distribution charge.