The Carroll County Sheriff's office said on its website that Ryan Loskarn was found dead Thursday in Sykesville, Md. Deputies say the preliminary investigation shows Loskarn may have committed suicide. Family members reported finding Loskarn unresponsive in the basement where he had been living, according to the sheriff's office.
His body has been sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
Loskarn had been allowed to live with his parents while he awaited trial on charges of possession and attempted distribution of child pornography. The 35-year-old also was required to be electronically monitored.
Loskarn had been the chief of staff for Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, for two years before his arrest. Loskarn was fired immediately after his arrest.
"For everyone involved, this is a sad and tragic story from beginning to end," Alexander said in a statement.
Attorneys for Loskarn did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Friday.
According to court documents, law enforcement officials believe that between November 2010 and March 2011, Loskarn made several purchases from a website that was offering child pornography DVDs. Loskarn was also accused of offering child pornography files for download from his home computer.
Court documents say that when law enforcement officials arrived to search his house, one official watched as Loskarn appeared to place an object outside a window. Officials later found a portable hard drive in that location, and a prosecutor said the drive contained at least 200 videos of child pornography.
If convicted, Loskarn had faced up to 10 years on the possession charge and a minimum of five and maximum of 20 years on the distribution charge.
According to Loskarn's biography on his LinkedIn account and in previous communications for Alexander's office, he graduated from Tulane University in 2000 and went to work for retired Republican U.S. Rep. Wally Herger of California as a legal assistant. He later was the communications director for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, and eventually became staff director for the Senate Republican Conference.
Loskarn was well versed in Senate procedure and was considered a sharp prognosticator of how debates and standoffs would play out. He was known to share colorful anecdotes and keen observations about body language and mood in the Senate.
Associated Press writers Erik Schelzig in Nashville, Tenn., and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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