Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein: The Theories on His Death

Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein

Getty A woman holds a photo of Jeffrey Epstein.

Jeffrey Epstein’s life was shrouded in mystery and deceit, and his death bred more of the same. Theories abound on who killed Jeffrey Epstein, and whether his death was suicide or murder. Last week, Ghislaine Maxwell, his longtime companion, was arrested on allegations she facilitated sex with minors and lied to authorities.

Women who survived sexual abuse at the hands of Epstein, threats and extortion were prepared to finally have their day in court when Epstein was found dead in his cell. Epstein’s cause of death was reported as a suicide, but when more information was revealed from his autopsy, many concluded that Epstein didn’t kill himself. Whether Epstein died by suicide or homicide, his death denied survivors the chance to face him in court. Some of those survivors are appearing on ABC 20/20 Friday, July 10, 2020. The update episode airs at 9 p.m. EST.

Investigation Discovery asked “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein” in its special, Nine at 9. The Epstein investigation aired May 31, 2020 at 9 p.m. EST. Meanwhile, Netflix is taking a deep dive into the case and his crimes, interviewing many of his survivors on Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. Read more about his private island, wealth and assets here.

Here’s what you need to know:

Many Rich & Powerful People Had Reason to Silence Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein had a circle that included many rich and powerful people. Among them was Prince Andrew, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl, who was trafficked by Epstein to Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew has denied the allegations. Epstein’s circle also included former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump, although neither is accused of having any knowledge or involvement with the trafficking ring. Read more about Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein here.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Epstein’s death, “way too convenient,” saying he could not incriminate anyone else at trial after his death. Epstein was found dead the day after hundreds of pages of court documents were released, revealing new allegations against him and many of his high-profile associates, BBC reported.

“How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?” he asked, according to BBC. “Well, that information didn’t die with Jeffrey Epstein. That needs to be investigated, too.”

The FBI opened an investigation into Epstein’s death. He was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City August 10, 2019. A month earlier, he was found semiconscious in the cell following an apparent suicide attempt. Epstein, 66, was in jail without bail after pleading not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

In a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Republican Senator Ben Sasse said “heads must roll.” He also announced that the justice department would open its own investigation.

“The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal,” he said.

“Every single person in the Justice Department – from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer – knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” he added.

A Pathologist Hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s Brother Said Findings Point to Homicide

A New York medical examiner said immediately after Jeffrey Epstein’s death that he appeared to die by suicide by hanging, but that has been questioned many time over since then, especially after an autopsy revealed fractures in the front of Epstein’s neck, under the mandible, which can be indicative of homicide by strangulation. Epstein’s brother believed Epstein didn’t kill himself, and hired private pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to conduct his own investigation.

Baden observed the autopsy done by city officials, and said the broken bones and other injuries “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation,” according to The New York Times.

“I think that the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide,” he said.

Epstein had three fractures in the hyoid bone, which is located near the Adam’s apple, and tears to the thyroid cartilage.

“I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case,” he said.

Dr. Barbara Sampson, who determined Epstein’s cause and manner of death was suicide by hanging, stood behind the initial findings.

“I stand firmly behind our determination of the cause and manner of death in this case,” Dr. Sampson told the New York Times. She added: “In general, fractures of the hyoid bone and the cartilage can be seen in suicides and homicides.”

Other experts echoed that the injuries could be seen in both homicides and suicides.

“It’s not a slam dunk,” forensic anthropologist Marcella Sorg told The New York Times.

Dr. Burton Bentley II, the head of Elite Medical Experts, a consulting firm based in Arizona, echoed that skepticism in an interview with The Times. “It’s not a hundred percent,” he said. “It’s not even going to get us to ninety.”

Read more about how common a broken hyoid bone is here.

Epstein is buried in Star of David Cemetery in Palm Beach, Florida, according to Find a Grave.

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