Autopsy reveals that Jeffrey Epstein had multiple broken bones in his neck — raising questions over whether he really died from suicide

Richard Drew/AP, New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP
  • An autopsy report found that the financier Jeffrey Epstein had multiple broken bones in his neck, two sources familiar with the report told The Washington Post.
  • One of the broken bones in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid, according to The Post. This type of fracture is associated with both suicidal hanging and homicidal strangulation but is more commonly related to the latter, Jonathan Arden, the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told The Post.
  • The details from the autopsy follow reports that prison guards watching Epstein fell asleep for three hours during their shift and failed to do routine checks, as well as that Epstein was housed alone in his cell against protocol.
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An autopsy report found that the financier Jeffrey Epstein had multiple broken bones in his neck, two sources familiar with the report told The Washington Post.

The convicted sex offender was awaiting trial on federal charges of sex trafficking. He was being held in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he was found hanging in his cell on Saturday morning. After attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at a New York hospital.

Attorney General William Barr, whose office has launched an investigation into the circumstances around the death of the high-profile prisoner, has described it as an “apparent suicide.”

The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner conducted an autopsy on Sunday but has not publicly announced the cause of death, The Post said.

“The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time,” the chief medical officer, Barbara Sampson, said in a statement on Sunday. “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.”

One of the broken bones in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid, according to The Post. This type of fracture is associated with both suicidal hanging and homicidal strangulation but is more commonly related to the latter, Jonathan Arden, the president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told The Post.


Read more:
Prison guards watching Jeffrey Epstein reportedly fell asleep and failed to check on him for 3 hours the night he died – then tried to cover up their mistake

“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, who was not involved with the autopsy, told The Post, adding that further investigation into the details of the death would be needed.

Arden said that the age of the person is also a factor in determining whether a death was more likely a suicide, as the hyoid – below the tonsils and above the Adam’s apple – can ossify in middle age into a U shape that can break more easily.

The details from the autopsy follow reports that prison guards watching Epstein fell asleep for three hours during their shift and failed to do routine checks, as well as that Epstein was housed alone in his cell against protocol.

Little information has been released since Epstein’s death, fuelling speculation and conspiracy theories about the circumstances, something that President Donald Trump has engaged in.

In July, Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, accused of abusing underage girls as young as 14. He had pleaded not guilty.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to two state counts of soliciting prostitution and was sentenced to 18 months in jail; he served 13 months.

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