The autopsy of deceased alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein shows several broken bones in his neck, raising additional questions about the wealthy criminal’s death, according to a report.
The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that among Epstein’s broken bones was his hyoid, a horseshoe-shaped bone situated near the Adam’s apple in men. Forensic experts told the Post that hyoid breaks are plausible in hanging cases yet are more common in homicide victims who are strangled to death.
Law enforcement received a call Saturday at 6:39 a.m. that Epstein was in cardiac arrest in his Metropolitan Correctional Center cell and was later pronounced dead at New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. According to the New York Post, Epstein was discovered with a bedsheet around his neck which was tied to his bunk bed. “The convicted pedophile, who was 6 feet tall, apparently killed himself by kneeling toward the floor and strangling himself with the makeshift noose,” the paper stated.
Epstein was placed on suicide watch last month after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck, but he was later returned to the jail’s special housing unit for inmates needing close supervision. Under the jail’s protocol, Epstein would not have been given a bedsheet had he been on suicide watch, the Associated Press said.
New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said the autopsy on Epstein was performed on Sunday and stated she would release the determination upon “further information.” The Post further reports Sampson’s office has requested information regarding the condition of Epstein prior to his death, possible video surveillance footage of him in his cell, and the results of a toxicology test.
Epstein’s death angered federal and local officials, prompting the immediate launch of an investigation into the prison’s personnel and practices. Attorney General William Barr directed the Department of Justice’s inspector general to probe the matter. The FBI has also opened a full inquiry.
“I was appalled, and indeed, the whole department was, and frankly, angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Barr said on Monday. “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are doing just that.”
“Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it,” the nation’s chief legal officer added.
The guards on Epstein’s unit the night of his apparent suicide were working overtime shifts to make up for staffing shortages, according to several report. One of the guards, who had a different job in the jail and did not regularly perform correctional officer duties, was working a fifth straight day of overtime and the other guard was working mandatory overtime. The prison’s warden, Lamine N’Diaye, and the two guards have been reassigned.
Epstein was facing charges of sex trafficking that stemmed from activities over a period of three years in the early 2000s. He served a 13-month prison sentence in Florida in 2008 after he was charged with similar offenses and was forced to register as a sex offender. His attorneys unsuccessfully lobbied for bail and house arrest on the new charges, but a federal New York judge declared him a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Federal prosecutors in New York are pursuing a parallel investigation into whether any of his associates will face charges for assisting him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of girls as young as 14.
Ghislaine Maxwell, believed to have been Epstein’s former girlfriend and personal assistant, is one of the financier’s alleged co-conspirators and may still face charges. Maxwell is accused of recruiting teenage girls for Epstein and his associates
Over a dozen FBI agents raided Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean on Monday in a sign that the investigation into the convicted pedophile is ongoing.
Editor’s note: the photo collage for this article is not a literal representation of x-rays or imagery used by coroners to make this particular determination. A file photo from a medical evaluation unrelated to Jeffrey Epstein has been used to illustrate a neck x-ray.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.