Reports show that Epstein’s hyoid bone near his Adam’s apple was severed, The Post reported through sources. Such broken bones can occur when a person hangs themselves, but more commonly occur when there is strangulation involved in homicide cases, according to the newspaper, a point backed up by multiple research studies.
The report is sure to fuel conspiracy theories that have raged since Epstein died. Multiple reports said he died by an apparent suicide, but his cause of death has not been officially determined. Since his death, Attorney General Bill Barr has said the Justice Department has learned of “serious irregularities” at the federal facility where Epstein was being held that are “deeply concerning.” He said officials “demand a serious investigation.” Barr also said the FBI and the DOJ’s Inspector General’s office will “get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Medical Examiner Previously Said the Cause of Death Determination Was Pending
In a statement obtained by Heavy, Barbara Sampson, Chief Medical Examiner on Esptein’s case confirmed that an autopsy was performed on his body, but that cause of death is pending.
“The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time. At the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice,” the statement read.
“My office defers to the involved law enforcement agencies regarding other investigations around this death.”
As stated before, the most significant break in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which most commonly occurs during strangulation, but has occurred during suicide by hanging. Justice officials declined to comment on the findings of Epstein’s autopsy confirmed by Sampson.
I have no idea. I know he was on his plane 27 times, and he said he was on the plane four times. But when they checked the plane logs, Bill Clinton, who was a very good friend of Epstein, he was on the plane about 27 or 28 times, so why did he say four times? And then the question you have to ask is ‘Did Bill Clinton go to the island?’ because Epstein had an island that was not a good place as I understand it, and I was never there. So you have to ask, ‘Did Bill Clinton go to the island?’ If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot.
The Two Guards Monitoring Epstein Fell Asleep And Failed to Inspect His Cell For Three Hours Leading up to His Death, Law Enforcement Said
Law enforcement informed the New York Times on Tuesday that the two guards assigned to Epstein’s cell were sleeping on the job leading up to his death.
Not only did Epstein’s guards fall asleep on the job, they may have falsified records saying they checked on Epstein every 30 minutes in the hours leading up to his death when they hadn’t, prison officials believe, according to The New York Times. Both guards have been placed on administrative leave.
Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. It was reported as a suicide by hanging, since a bedsheet was found with his body, but President Trump is demanding a full-blown investigation.
“What we’re saying is we want an investigation. I want a full investigation,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “That’s what I absolutely am demanding. That’s what our great attorney general is doing, he’s doing a full investigation,” the president said.
“A Broken Hyoid is a Telltale Sign of Manual Strangulation” Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner Said But It Can Also Occur in Hangings
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner told MSNBC in an interview Saturday that a broken hyoid would point to manual strangulation as cause of death.
Multiple studies from different countries have backed up several critical points in The Post’s article: Namely that the hyoid bone being broken is more common in strangulation homicide deaths, but it does occur in a fair number of suicides by hanging, especially in older people.
However, TMZ reported that Epstein “either hurled himself off the top bunk or had his feet to the ground and leaned forward to cut off his air supply” and that such an act could explain the hyoid bone breakage. TMZ also reported Epstein “suffered petechial hemorrhaging, caused when someone hangs himself or is strangled or smothered.”
Multiple research studies have found that broken hyoid bones can also occur in suicides by hanging, but are more common in strangulation deaths.
For example, three authors specifically studied broken hyoid bones in hanging cases in the article Fractures of the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage in suicidal hanging. They conducted “A prospective study of hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage fractures in Thai people who died from suicidal hanging between November 2008 and August 2009.”
The results of that study found that a broken hyoid occurred in about one-fourth of cases: “Twenty male cases of suicidal hanging were reviewed. Fractures of the hyoid bone and/or thyroid cartilage were found in five cases (25%).” This study also noted: “Fractures of the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage in 25% of Thais who died of suicidal hanging were related with older ages and incomplete hanging but not related with location of the knot.” Other research studies have placed the percentage at different places.
Necks being broken in hangings is a common phenomenon. The book An Introduction to the Work of a Medical Examiner by John Miletich and Tia Lindstrom says that the “drop distance needed to break a neck depends on the person’s body mass…the hanged person’s neck breaks when his falling body reaches the end of the rope, rapidly tightens the noose, and wrenches his neck sideways, dislocating or snapping his neck’s axis bone.”
In fact, there is even a broken bone called a “hangman’s fracture.” It is a “a fracture of the axis in the cervical region. It is often seen with people who try to hang themselves but also occurs in sports or traffic accidents.” It is not clear whether Epstein had this fracture.
Attorney General William P. Barr, whose department oversees the Bureau of Prisons facility where Epstein died, came under fire on Saturday for calling Epstein’s death an “apparent suicide” before all evidence has been made known.
“What we need to do is investigate,” Kirschner said. “Importantly, we need the autopsy results to see, for example, if the hyoid bone was fractured, which is a telltale sign of manual strangulation, but not necessarily a hanging suicide.”
Another thing to note: it is standard procedure for prisoners deemed suicidal to have cellmates. Epstein was assigned a cellmate who was with him for a week before he was transferred from Epstein’s cell the night before his death.
The Bureau of Prisons’ policy reads that several high-ranking prison officials would have had to sign off on Epstein’s removal from suicide watch and it’s still a mystery as to why Epstein wasn’t reassigned a cellmate.
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