A forensic pathologist independently contracted by Jeffrey Epstein's brother believes the convicted sex offender was strangled to death in his cell while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. The theory contradicts the Chief Medical Examiner's official conclusion: That Epstein hung himself from a jailhouse bunk bed. It also reignites conspiracy theories about Epstein's death.
According to Dr. Michael Baden — a former New York City medical examiner and a Fox News contributor — Epstein had three breaks in his neck when staff at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center found him dead early on the morning of August 10th. One bone had snapped on either side of his larynx, and one above his Adam's apple (the hyoid bone). Those injuries "are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation," Baden told Fox & Friends on Wednesday. He also noted that the types of hemorrhages seen in Epstein's eyes are more common in homicidal strangulation than in suicide by strangulation.
"I think that the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide," Baden said. "I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case."
This is basically the same suspicion raised by Epstein's defense team when a judge dismissed the case in August. It's also worth emphasizing that Epstein's brother hired Baden, and that this argument is not new.
Before the Medical Examiner officially ruled on Epstein's cause of death, details on the autopsy leaked to the Washington Post. Epstein had broken the hyoid bone in his neck, sources told the Post, an injury less consistent with a suicide than with homicide. Although the hyoid bone might be more likely to break when an older adult hangs themself, it typically snaps when a person is strangled to death. One of those sources subsequently circled back to clarify that a broken hyoid can definitely result from self-strangulation, and please don't take the previous report as fuel for the conspiracy theory fire. But due to the sheer volume of procedural lapses that preceded Epstein's sudden death, that fire was already blazing.
Epstein's cellmate was transferred the night before he died. Because he'd recently been taken off suicide watch after an apparent attempt in late July, he should not have been left alone for any stretch of time; guards also should have been checking on him every 30 minutes, except the pair assigned to him that day allegedly fell asleep for three hours of their shift.
The string of significant mistakes sparked a raft of investigations into the detention center's management, but some — including Epstein's former bodyguard and legal team — floated the theory that the disgraced money manager either had outside help, or was the victim of a hit. The day before he died, a damning tranche of documents became public, naming some very high-profile, powerful people as Epstein's co-conspirators in an alleged scheme to traffic girls as young as 14 years old. Two days before his sudden death, Epstein tied up his vast fortune in a complicated trust, and filed his will in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Since Epstein's death, scrutiny has reportedly shifted to a handful of his associates; people who, like Ghislaine Maxwell and Prince Andrew of Great Britain, might have been involved in their friend's alleged sex crimes. No further arrests have been made at this time.