Wealthy financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly hanged himself in his jail cell over the weekend, had multiple broken bones in his neck, The Washington Post reported, citing two people familiar with the autopsy findings.
The reported findings are significant because some experts say the breaks he suffered are more common in instances of death by strangulation than death by hanging.
“Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject,” The Post reported.
“But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.”
Attorney General William Barr has said Epstein died in an “apparent suicide.” According to The Post, following the autopsy, “the cause of his death [has been listed] as pending.”
With Epstein’s connections to various powerful men in mind, many people have not bought the official explanation, instead claiming Epstein was killed to prevent him from spilling his secrets. There is no evidence that this is true.
However, the reported autopsy findings do raise some questions about how exactly Epstein died.
“Jonathan L. Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, said a hyoid can be broken in many circumstances but is more commonly associated with homicidal strangulation than suicidal hanging,” The Post noted.
“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,” he said.
Arden, who was not involved in the Epstein autopsy, also said that the discovery of a broken hyoid usually merits a more in-depth investigation.
“That investigation can include analysis of the location of the noose, how narrow the noose is, and if the body experienced any substantial drop in the course of the hanging,” according to The Post, which reported that “the age of the deceased is also important.”
According to New York City Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson, it’s important not to jump to conclusions based off one finding in an autopsy.
“In all forensic investigations, all information must be synthesized to determine the cause and manner of death. Everything must be consistent; no single finding can be evaluated in a vacuum,” Sampson told The Post.
“Today, a medical examiner performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein,” Sampson added to the New York Post.
“The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time. At the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice,” Sampson added.
As Fox News noted, guards at the facility where Epstein was being held have been accused of falsifying log entries to make it look like they were checking on Epstein more frequently than they actually were.
Weeks ago, Epstein was reportedly placed on suicide watch “in medical distress” with “apparent bruising on his neck,” according to The Daily Beast.
But Epstein was not on suicide watch when he allegedly hanged himself, officials say.
Epstein, already a convicted sex offender, was hit last month with multiple charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.
Before being found dead, he had pleaded not guilty.
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