An autopsy report states that Jeffrey Epstein’s body has multiple fractures in his neck.
The type of breaks that Epstein suffered are most commonly seen in cases of strangulation, but could also have been caused by suicide by hanging among individuals who are middle-aged.
An autopsy was performed on Sunday, however Dr. Barbara Sampson the New York City chief medical examiner stated that investigators were waiting on more information. At the request of Epstein’s lawyer, the autopsy was overseen by Dr. Michael Baden a private pathologist.
The exact manner of how Epstein committed suicide has not been made clear, but officials have stated that he hanged himself with his prison bedsheets. An individual familiar with the operations of the Manhattan prison said that Epstein was discovered Saturday morning with a bedsheet tied around his neck, the individual could give no further information and spoke with the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity.
Epstein’s autopsy showed that his hyoid bone, near the Adam’s Apple, was among the bones shattered.
“If hypothetically, the hyoid bone is broken, that would generally raise questions about strangulation, but it is not definitive and does not exclude suicidal hanging,” said Jonathan L. Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, who was not involved in the autopsy. He added that the hyoid bone hardens when a person reaches middle age, making it easier to fracture in cases of suicide. Studies show that between six and one-quarter percent of hangings will result in the hyoid bone being broken.
Epstein, 66, was awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy. Epstein was accused of sexually abusing scores of underage girls. Authorities say that Epstein sexually abused underage girls at his mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. Reportedly the young girls were paid hundreds of dollars in cash to massage him, perform sexual acts and to recruit other girls, prosecutors alleged. Epstein had denied all allegations and was facing the possibility of 45 years in prison.
The Manhattan prison where he was detained was chronically understaffed and has been found to have made several missteps in handling Epstein.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch back in July after he was found on the floor of his cell semi-conscious and with bruises on his neck. Authorities believed his injuries were a result of a failed suicide attempt so he was put on suicide watch. The watch was lifted at the end of July.
Investigators say that a guard was supposed to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, but guards had fallen asleep and Epstein went unchecked for a period of three hours the days of his death. The guards reportedly falsified records to make it appear that they had completed all of their checks.
US Attorney General Bill Barr quickly opened a Justice Department probe into Epstein’s death, saying it “raises serious questions that must be answered.”
Epstein had ties to some of the most powerful people in the United States including Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton.