Jeffrey Epstein sustained a broken hyoid bone in apparent suicide, city official says

The accused sex trafficker was found dead in a New York City jail.

August 15, 2019, 7:20 PM

Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who sources say hanged himself in a New York City jail, sustained a broken hyoid bone, a city official with knowledge of the autopsy told ABC News.

Epstein, who was found unresponsive Saturday morning in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, hanged himself with a bedsheet, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Experts say the injury can be associated with suicide or strangulation.

Though the autopsy was completed Sunday, the cause of death remains pending as federal investigators examine the circumstances of Epstein’s death.

A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News there is nothing to suggest Epstein died in any manner other than suicide.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner declined to comment on the broken hyoid bone, which is near the Adam’s apple. But officials cautioned against taking a single finding from the autopsy out of context.

“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,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said.

The correctional officers in question are expected to be interviewed this week by the FBI and Office of Inspector General (OIG), law enforcement sources told ABC News.

PHOTO: This file photo taken on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center where financier Jeffrey Epstein was being held before his alleged suicide.
This file photo taken on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center where financier Jeffrey Epstein was being held before his alleged suicide.
Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

A source close to the investigation tells ABC News that an "after-action" team from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is visiting the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Wednesday, where the plan to look into the way prison officials handled Epstein's detention in the days and weeks leading up to his death.

On Tuesday, a separate team of BOP psychologists visited the facility to reconstruct how Epstein was able to take his own life in his cell, and also further probed the decision-making process that led to Epstein being taken off of suicide watch.

These reviews are in addition to the already-ongoing investigations by the FBI and OIG, the official said.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center staff members, who have been placed on temporary leave, are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they made the proper checks on Epstein and other inmates in the Special Housing Unit at the federal lockup in Manhattan, but those log entries have been contradicted by surveillance footage, the sources said.

ABC News has previously reported the staff failed to follow protocol that requires welfare checks every 30 minutes.

Epstein's apparent suicide occurred after he was previously found on July 23 unresponsive in his cell with marks on his neck and taken to a hospital, sources with knowledge of the episode told ABC News.

He was placed on suicide watch, but removed on July 29 after jail officials determined he was no longer a threat to himself, sources said.

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