An autopsy found that convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein suffered multiple breaks in his neck bones, Washington Post reported, quoting two people familiar with the findings.
Hyoid bone was among the broken bones in Epstein’s neck. This bone is near the Adam’s apple in men.
According to forensics experts and studies on the subject, hyoid bone breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly among older people. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, medical experts said.
“It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities, with no evidence of foul play, that he hanged himself and got the hyoid fracture that way,” said NBC News medical correspondent Dr. John Torres. “That wouldn’t be unusual.”
“It depends on what was used for the hanging — Was it a rope? A sheet? Something else? — and how was the knot tied and what kind of force applied?” Torres said.
The president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, Jonathan L. Arden, said a hyoid can be broken in many circumstances but is more commonly associated with homicidal strangulation than suicidal hanging.
“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,” Arden said. Jonathan L. Arden was not involved in the Epstein’s autopsy.
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel said it’s “more likely” Jeffrey Epstein’s death was a homicide rather than a suicide.
“The hyoid bone in the neck being fractured and other fractures in the neck, make it more likely, and again, this is a percentage call, more likely that it was a homicide than a suicide,” Siegel said.
Multiple breaks in Epstein’s neck bones, are the first findings to emerge from the autopsy, deepening questions around his death.
Jeffrey Edward Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) New York at about 6:30 a.m on Saturday, August 10, 2019. He was transported to the hospital but was pronounced dead at the hospital. In an official statement on Saturday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons described his death as an “apparent suicide.”
Autopsy of Epstein’s body was completed the following day – Sunday August 11, by the office of New York City’s chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson. They listed the cause of Epstein’s death as pending.
When asked about the neck injuries, the chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, said that no single factor in an autopsy can alone provide a conclusive answer about what happened.
“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 said.
In an exclusive report earlier published by The Post, Jeffrey Epstein told his lawyers before his death that the neck injuries he suffered were inflicted by his hulking, ex-cop cellmate. This led the lawyers to request that he be taken off a suicide watch. The same report said that Jeffrey Epstein was confident of victory in the child sex trafficking charges against him and was in “great spirits.”
The autopsy finding about Epstein’s neck injuries follows earlier reports that officers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center broke protocol and failed to properly monitor him.
Corrections officers had not checked on Epstein for “several” hours before he was found hanging in his cell – one of a series of missteps in the hours leading up to his death, Washington Post reported.
The above details have increased the number of questions and conspiracy theories about how such a high profile person in federal custody could have hanged himself.
Some studies conducted over the past decade have produced conflicting results about the likelihood of a hyoid break in a suicide.
In a study of 20 suicidal hangings in Thailand, published in 2010, one-fourth of the men who hanged themselves had broken hyoids.
In a larger study of suicidal hangings of young adults and middle-aged people in India, conducted from 2010 to 2013, hyoid damage was found in just 16 of 264 cases, or 6 percent. The study addressed the discrepancies in academic reviews, saying wide variations in findings of hyoid breaks are “possibly due to factors like age of the victim, weight of the victim, type of suspension and height of suspension.”
In 2008, Ronnie L. White, a teenager accused of killing a police officer, died of an apparent suicide in a suburban Washington jail cell. But two days later, the cause of death was changed to homicide when a Maryland state medical examiner discovered the teen had a broken hyoid. Read more at the Washington Post here
On Friday August 16, 2019, the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner that performed autopsy on Epstein’s body concluded that Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide by hanging.
According to The New York Times, three of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, Martin G. Weinberg, Reid Weingarten and Michael Miller, have challenged the findings and vowed to conduct their own investigation.