Jeffrey Epstein's neck wounds raise suspicions as his body is claimed by an unidentified associate

The hyoid bone is more commonly broken when a person is killed due to homicide by strangulation

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published August 15, 2019 4:05PM (EDT)

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)
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's body has been claimed by an unknown associate even as questions are being raised regarding his neck wounds and what they suggest about his cause of death.

An autopsy revealed that the billionaire financier and registered sex offender had multiple broken bones in his neck, according to the Washington Post. One particular broken bone that has received attention was Epstein's hyoid bone, which is located near the Adam's apple in the human body. While that bone can be broken when individuals hang themselves, it is more commonly broken when a person is killed due to a homicide by strangulation.

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

Since the performance of the autopsy, Epstein's body has been claimed from the medical examiner's office by an unidentified associate, according to NBC News.

There was widespread outrage in the aftermath of Epstein's death, with many accusing New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center of gross incompetence or possible corruption.

"I was appalled and frankly angry to learn of the [Metropolitan Correctional Center's] failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Attorney General William Barr told a law enforcement group Monday in New Orleans. “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation."

He added, "This sex trafficking case was very important to DOJ and me personally. FBI and office of DOJ IG will get to the bottom of what happened, and there will be accountability."

In a New York Times editorial published on Tuesday, former prosecutor Renato Mariotti explained why Epstein's death would make it much harder for his victims to achieve justice.

"In the short term, the public may learn the most from the Department of Justice inspector general’s investigation of Mr. Epstein’s questionable Florida plea deal and the investigation of his death," Mariotti wrote. "Even if no corruption or foul play was involved (which could result in charges), the public has a right to know how and why Mr. Epstein died."

"The victims will regrettably never see Mr. Epstein brought to justice, and unless one of his accomplices is charged, they may never see a public trial that establishes the abuse they suffered," he continued. "They instead face the challenge of protracted civil litigation, which can yield monetary compensation but cannot bring them justice or make them truly whole."

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, promoted unfounded conspiracy theories claiming that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were somehow responsible for Epstein's death.

He first retweeted a news outlet which said, "BREAKING: Documents were unsealed yesterday revealing that top Democrats, including Bill Clinton, took private trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s 'pedophilia island.'" In a follow up tweet, Trump quoted a comedian who wrote "Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen #JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised #EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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