Most significantly, the autopsy found that Epstein’s hyoid bone, a bone near the Adam’s apple, was broken. While forensics experts say such breaks can occur in cases of suicidal hanging, they are often indicative of homicide by strangulation.
President of the National Association of Medical Examiners, Jonathan Arden, said the hyoid bone can be broken in different circumstances, but is more commonly associated with homicidal strangulation than with suicidal hanging.
Barbara Sampson, New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner, had released a statement indicating the results of Sunday’s initial autopsy were inconclusive “pending further information” and that it was performed under the observation of a private pathologist at the request of representatives for Epstein, which Sampson herself allowed.
She referred to the presence of Dr. Michael Baden, the private pathologist and New York City’s chief medical examiner in the late 1970s, as “routine practice.” Baden has been involved in such high profile cases as the 1994 O.J Simpson murder trial, the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and American football tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Sources familiar with the autopsy said the office of the Chief Medical Examiner was seeking additional information and evidence concerning Epstein’s death that may include video footage of hallways near Epstein’s cell as well as a toxicology screening of the body and interviews with guards and inmates who were nearby at the time of his death.
According to Arden, the finding of a broken hyoid bone requires pathologists to conduct a thorough investigation that could included an analysis of the noose and any drop of the body that may have occurred.
Of the possibility that Epstein was strangled to death, Arden said:
“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.”
According to the Washington Post:
“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 six 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’.”
The news of broken bones in Epstein’s neck arrived the same day news broke that the two guards tasked with monitoring Epstein at the time of his death broke protocol by falling asleep on the job and then falsified logs to cover their mistake. Surveillance video reportedly shows guards failing to make the required inspections that were noted in the log.
On Saturday, a former Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) inmate told the New York Post, “There’s no way that man could have killed himself.”
The former MCC inmate contends that suicide by hanging at the facility is “an impossibility. Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.”
According a previous report from the New York Times, MCC staff failed to follow required protocols in the time leading up to Epstein’s death. A law enforcement source also claims that Epstein’s cellmate was transferred—another breach in protocol that left Epstein alone in his cell.
An unidentified person described only as an “Epstein associate” claimed the convicted pedophile’s body from the New York City medical examiner’s office, a source told NBC on Wednesday.