Jeffery Epstein - The Saga - 10
Death - Main article: Death of Jeffrey Epstein
Epstein's body moved from New York hospital to medical examiner's office, video from Voice of America
On July 23, three weeks prior to his death, Epstein was found unconscious in his jail cell with injuries to his neck. Epstein believed he was attacked by his cellmate, who was awaiting trial for four counts of murder, while the correctional staff suspected attempted suicide. After that incident, he was placed on suicide watch. Six days later on July 29, Epstein was taken off suicide watch and placed in a special housing unit with another inmate. Epstein's close associates said he was in "good spirits".
The jail informed the Justice Department when Epstein was placed in the special housing unit that he would have a cellmate and that a guard would look into the cell every 30 minutes. These procedures were not followed on the night of his death. On August 9, Epstein's cellmate was transferred out, and no new replacement cellmate was brought in. Later in the evening, in violation of the jail's normal procedure, Epstein was not checked every 30 minutes. The two guards who were assigned to check his jail unit that night fell asleep and did not check on him for about three hours; the guards falsified related records. Two cameras in front of Epstein's cell also malfunctioned that night.
On August 11, an autopsy was performed. The preliminary result of the autopsy found that Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones, among the bones broken in Epstein's neck was the hyoid bone. Such breaks of the hyoid bone can occur from those who hang themselves, but they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation. A 2010 study found broken hyoids in one-fourth of cases of hangings, and a larger study conducted from 2010 to 2016 found hyoid damage in just 16 of 264 cases, or six percent of cases of hangings. Hyoid bone breaks are more common in older individuals, as the bones become more brittle upon reaching middle age. Forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht noted that hanging by leaning forward would not result in broken cervical bones.
On August 16, Barbara Sampson, the New York City medical examiner, ruled Epstein's death a suicide by hanging. The medical examiner, according to Epstein's defense counsel, only saw nine minutes of footage from one security camera to help her arrive at her conclusion. Epstein's estate independent pathologist, Michael Baden, who was at the examination, was unable to discuss the result, since, as of August 16, he was bound by a gag order from the medical examiner office and Epstein's estate. Epstein's defense lawyers were not satisfied with the conclusion of the medical examiner and were conducting their own independent investigation into the cause of Epstein's death, including taking legal action, if necessary, to view the pivotal camera footage near his cell during the night of his death. Epstein's lawyers said that the evidence concerning Epstein's death was "far more consistent" with murder than suicide.
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