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Convicted Madam Commits Suicide to Avoid Prison

August 7, 1995 GMT

BRYAN, Texas (AP) _ A convicted madam who was recaptured after escaping from prison hanged herself Sunday in a jail cell, apparently to avoid six years behind bars.

Sylvia Landry, 39, was found hanging from bed sheets tied to the metal mesh over a smoke detector in her Brazos County Jail cell, said Kenny Elliott, lead investigator for the sheriff’s department. She had not been on a suicide watch, he said.

Ms. Landry was recaptured Saturday, two days after she escaped from the minimum-security federal prison in Bryan, about 135 miles south of Dallas. She was being held in the county jail before being returned to prison.

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Her father, Joseph Ballard, said his daughter apparently preferred to kill herself rather than spend the next six years behind bars.

In her last phone call to her parents in Walker, La., on Saturday, Ms. Landry told her family to prepare for the worst, Ballard said.

``She just told me, `Daddy, this is the last time you’ll talk to me. They’ll call you and tell you what happened,‴ he said.

A federal judge sentenced Ms. Landry last month to six years in prison for interstate prostitution, officials said. Investigators claimed she sent prostitutes to Mississippi from her Baton Rouge, La., ring.