Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Shows Broken Hyoid Neck Bone, Most Common In Strangulation

Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell on Saturday in an apparent suicide but a new autopsy report suggests he may have been strangled.

The Washington Post reports the autopsy showed several broken bones in his neck, including the hyoid bone: “Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensic experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.”

Epstein, who was awaiting charges of sex trafficking and abuse of underage girls, was well-connected in multi-million dollar circles and often brought affluent people to his private island in the United States Virgin Islands.

Details concerning Epstein’s death, including whether or not he actually took his own life are all still in question. The Washington Post reports:

The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, completed an autopsy of Epstein’s body Sunday. But Sampson listed the cause of his death as pending.

People familiar with the autopsy, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive stage of the investigation, said Sampson’s office is seeking additional information on Epstein’s condition in the hours before his death.

That could include video evidence of the jail hallways, which may establish whether anyone entered Epstein’s cell during the night he died; results of a toxicology screening to determine if there was any unusual substance in his body; and interviews with guards and inmates who were near his cell.

Shortly after Epstein’s death on Saturday, it was reported that the 66-year-old allegedly took his own life. It was soon learned that Epstein was on suicide watch but his prison guards reportedly fell asleep for several hours.

The Daily Wire reports: “The revelation about the broken bones that were found in Epstein’s neck followed the revelation on Tuesday night that the two guards who were supposed to be monitoring him fell asleep for three hours and allegedly falsified prison records to cover up their actions.”

According to the Washington Post, where it is more common for the hyoid bone to break in older individuals during a hanging, this bone still only breaks in 6 to 25 percent of cases.

Jonathan L. Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, reportedly told the outlet: “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.”

And, via the Washington Post:

A handful of studies conducted over the past decade have produced conflicting results about the likelihood of a hyoid break in a suicide. In a study of 20 suicidal hangings in Thailand, published in 2010, one-fourth of the men who hanged themselves had broken hyoids. In a larger study of suicidal hangings of young adults and middle-aged people in India, conducted from 2010 to 2013, hyoid damage was found in just 16 of 264 cases, or 6 percent. The study addressed the discrepancies in academic reviews, saying wide variations in findings of hyoid breaks are “possibly due to factors like age of the victim, weight of the victim, type of suspension and height of suspension.”

Hyoid fractures have previously sparked controversy in jailhouse and other contentious deaths.

Reuters adds: “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.”

“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,” the Reuters report continued. “It was also unclear when the autopsy report would be finished or made public.”