Epstein death: Broken neck bones in autopsy raise questions about apparent suicide of accused sex trafficker

Epstein death: Broken neck bones in autopsy raise questions about apparent suicide of accused sex traffickerJeffrey Epstein had suffered broken bones in his neck of a kind more commonly seen in deaths by strangulation than suicides, according to reports.The disgraced 66-year-old financier was found hanging in his cell at a federal prison in New York on Saturday while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.His death was described as an “apparent suicide” by attorney general William Barr, who criticised “serious irregularities” at the jail.Authorities have not yet released details of the autopsy, but The Washington Post claimed on Thursday that it discovered “multiple breaks in his neck bones”, including the hyoid bone.While the injury to the hyoid can occur in suicides by hanging, particularly in older people, it raises further questions about the circumstances of the multi-millionaire’s death.“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,” Jonathan Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told the Post.The case has already attracted several conspiracy theories, including one promoted by president Donald Trump on Twitter.It has also caused outrage among Epstein’s victims and their representatives, who had hoped that Epstein’s trial next year would produce the justice they thought he had long evaded.The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson, which has not commented on the findings of the autopsy, is said to be seeking further information about Epstein’s condition in the hours before his death.Epstein had previously been placed on suicide watch after being found unconscious on the floor of his cell with marks on his neck last month.However he was not under that regime at the time of his death and guards had not checked on him for up to three hours before he was found hanging at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in lower Manhattan.Epstein, who once counted Mr Trump and former president Bill Clinton as friends, died a day after new legal documents, unsealed by a court, provided more details about the young girls he was said to have abused over several decades.Several investigations are being carried out into the circumstances, including a “psychological reconstruction” and an “after action” review by the prison, as well as probes by the FBI and US Department of Justice’s inspector general.

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