Epstein autopsy sees mystery deepen
An autopsy that has just been carried out on convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's body has only deepened the mystery surrounding his death.
The billionaire financier was facing up to 45 years in prison over federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges when his body was found in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan last Saturday morning.
Now, two sources "familiar with the findings" have told the Washington Post the autopsy found Epstein suffered multiple breaks in his neck bones.
One of the broken bones was the hyoid bone, located near the Adam's apple in males.
And while that break could occur when a person - especially an older man - hangs themself, they are "more common in victims of homicide by strangulation", forensics experts said.
Jonathan L Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, was not involved in Epsten's autopsy - but he told the Post a broken hyoid bone would "raise questions" and that pathologist would need to investigate more extensively.
"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," he said.
Epstein's death has been described as an "apparent suicide" by Attorney-General William P Barr, whose department oversees the Bureau of Prisons facility where Epstein was held.
While it is widely known an autopsy was carried out by New York City's chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson on Sunday, his cause of death is still listed as "pending".
The Post's claims are the first specific details that have been made public so far.
Meanwhile, another source involved with the investigation into Epstein's death has revealed a string of severe breaches which took place before his suicide.
News.com.au reported yesterday that Metropolitan Correctional Centre prison guards had failed to check on the convicted sex offender for "several hours", even though prison protocol demanded inmates be checked every 30 minutes.
According to an explosive New York Times expose, two correctional officers on duty at the time of the powerful financier's alleged suicide had been sleeping on the job and later falsified records to cover up their fatal mistake.
Now a different source has told the Washington Post Epstein was also left alone in his cell without a fellow inmate - another breach of normal procedure - despite being on suicide watch just days earlier.
" … a person who had been assigned to share a cell with Epstein was transferred on Friday, and - for reasons that investigators are still exploring - he did not receive a new cellmate," the publication reported its anonymous source as saying.
"That left Epstein, who had previously been placed on suicide watch, alone and unmonitored - at least in the hours before his death - by even those officers assigned to guard him."
At the time of his death, Epstein was facing up to 45 years in prison over federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, although he had pleaded not guilty.
He had previously been placed on suicide watch but later taken off it after he was found semiconscious in his cell with neck injuries in what was believed to be a suicide attempt.
That decision to remove him from suicide watch in late July has also been widely criticised.
Former federal prison warden Cameron Lindsay described it as "shocking" in an interview with NBC News.
"For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking. For someone this high profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances," he said.
"You leave him on suicide watch until he's out of there. It's too early to say what I think should happen, but if this did occur as we believe that it did, some staff are going to have some hard questions to answer."
Attorney-General William Barr has ordered the Department of Justice's inspector general and the FBI to investigate Epstein's death and the prison procedures and circumstances leading up to it.
The guards on duty at the time of Epstein's death have not been named, although it is understood one - who was working on overtime - had been reassigned to overseeing prisoners due to a staff shortage.
The other had also been rostered to work overtime because of that shortage.
Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, told the Washington Post the prison had less than 70 per cent of the required correctional officers, which forced many into "mandatory overtime and 60 or 70-hour workweeks."
It is also unclear whether Epstein's death or warden check-ins were recorded on surveillance cameras.
ALLEGED MADAM FOUND
Meanwhile, it has been revealed Epstein's alleged madam, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, has been found after disappearing from public view for around three years.
Ms Maxwell, 57, has been accused of allegedly helping to procure dozens of underage girls for Epstein.
Now the Daily Mail reports she's been living in the small town of Manchester-by-the-Sea in Massachusetts, USA.
The publications claims she is living with her tech CEO partner Scott Borgerson, 43, in a "$3 million mansion".
Now that Epstein is dead and unable to face charges, global attention has turned to his alleged co-conspirators, including Ms Maxwell, who previously briefly dated Epstein.
To be clear, she has never been arrested or charged and has denied all allegations made against her.
But several of Epstein's victims have accused her of facilitating sexual meetings between him and young girls, and earlier this week, accuser Jennifer Araoz sued Epstein's estate and accomplices - including Ms Maxwell - under the newly enacted Child Victims Act.