Officers did not check on Jeffrey Epstein for "several" hours before finding his body: report

"If it wasn’t Mr. Epstein, it would have been somebody else, because of the conditions at that institution"

By Matthew Rozsa
August 12, 2019 3:10PM (UTC)
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July 27, 2006 arrest file photo made available by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office, in Florida, shows Jeffrey Epstein. (AP/Palm Beach Sheriff's Office)

Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire financier and registered sex offender who died in an apparent suicide Saturday, was reportedly left unattended in his cell for several hours — a violation of prison protocol.

Corrections officers did not check on Epstein for "several" hours prior to his body being discovered, according to the Washington Post. Standard procedure would have been for someone to check on Epstein every half hour ⁠— and for the disgraced financier to have a cellmate. Despite these rules, Epstein — who had previously been on suicide watch after a possible attempt to kill himself — was placed alone in a cell and not checked on for hours.


Epstein had indeed received a cellmate, but that individual was transferred on Friday, one day prior to his death, for reasons that are still being explored by investigators.

Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, defended the staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, claiming they are overworked and understaffed and that one of the people assigned to monitor Epstein does not usually work as a corrections official.

"If it wasn’t Mr. Epstein, it would have been somebody else, because of the conditions at that institution. It wasn’t a matter of how it happened or it happening, but it was only a matter of time for it to happen," Gregg told the Post. "It was inevitable. Our staff is severely overworked."


Furthering the controversial circumstances surrounding his death, it was recently revealed that there is no surveillance video of Epstein supposedly hanging himself since the cameras in the 9 South wing where he was being held filmed the areas outside rather than inside the cells, according to the New York Post.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams expressed outrage at the circumstances surrounding Epstein's death, stating during the annual Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan that "something is really troubling about that,c and I think it needs to be investigated extremely and very thoroughly to make sure there wasn’t any foul play."

There is also continued mystery around the results of Epstein's recent autopsy. On Sunday, the New York City medical examiner's office announced that although it had completed an autopsy on Epstein, it needed more information before it could officially determine his cause of death, according to NBC News. Suicide still remains Epstein's presumed cause of death, however, according to a number of individuals briefed on the investigation.


In addition, recently released documents reveal that Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a woman who claims she was once held as a teenage sex slave by Epstein, Virginia Roberts, was supposedly ordered to have sex with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, according to CNN.

Mitchell denied the accusation, saying that "I have never met, spoken with or had any contact with Ms. Giuffre." Richardson, through a spokeswoman, said that he has "never been to Mr. Epstein's residence in the Virgin Islands," and he "has never met Ms. Giuffre."


Last month, Epstein had been found semiconscious in a fetal position in his cell with marks on his neck. He reportedly showed no outside signs of injury when he appeared in court in the wake of what was then described as a possible suicide attempt.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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