Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy shows broken neck

Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead in a Manhattan prison. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: The autopsy into financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide while in prison awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, found his neck had been broken in several places, the Washington Post reported late on Wednesday.

Such injuries can occur to people who hang themselves or who are strangled, the newspaper said. Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell on Saturday morning, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A source told Reuters previously that he was found hanging by the neck.

It was unclear if the medical examiner has made a final determination into the cause of death, but NBC news cited an unnamed source as saying Epstein’s body had been claimed by an associate. It was also unclear when the autopsy report would be finished or made public.

The New York Medical Examiner’s office could not be reached for comment on the Post report early on Thursday and a representative did not immediately respond to Reuters by phone or text message.

Epstein, 66, a multi-millionaire and convicted sexual offender, was found dead in his jail cell in New York City on Saturday. The circumstances of his death are under investigation. He once counted Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former President Bill Clinton as friends. He pleaded not guilty in July to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005. Prosecutors said he recruited girls to give him massages, which became sexual in nature.

Attorney General William Barr has said the criminal investigation into any possible co-conspirators would continue. Barr, whose agency oversees the Bureau of Prisons, has also demanded an investigation into Epstein’s death and ordered the removal of the prison’s warden.

The disgraced financier had been on suicide watch at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in lower Manhattan but was then put back in a regular cell.

Multiple news reports have said guards did not follow procedures to check on Epstein frequently and that he was left alone in his cell for as long as three hours. A team at the prison on Wednesday began an “after action” review, which is normally triggered by significant events such as a prominent inmate’s death, a person familiar with the matter said. That review is being headed by a prison bureau director from another region.