Epstein, who was about 6 feet tall, apparently committed suicide by kneeling toward the floor before strangling himself with the bedsheet noose, the source told the news outlet on Aug. 12.
According to the report, when he was found at the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday morning, staffers attempted to revive him.
He was then taken to an infirmary before being transported to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. He was then pronounced dead.
Before the apparent suicide, the disgraced millionaire financier, accused of sex trafficking young girls, was meeting with his lawyers for up to 12 hours per day before they requested that he be taken off suicide watch, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources close to the matter.
After he was taken off the watch at the end of July, Epstein was put on “special observation status,” which meant that guards were supposed to check on him every 30 minutes, the report said.
A source told the Journal that he had no cellmate and wasn’t being checked every 30 minutes. His cellmate had been transferred, but was not immediately replaced, as per the jail’s protocol, before his death.
Epstein was cleared from suicide watch around July 29 before he was returned to the Special Housing Unit area of the jail. The move would have had to have been authorized by the facility’s suicide prevention program coordinator, who is usually the chief psychologist. The warden would also have to approve it, according to NBC News.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has since said that there were “serious irregularities” at the jail holding the convicted sex offender.
“I was appalled, and indeed the whole department was, and, frankly, angry,” Barr said at an event in New Orleans on Aug. 12, describing it as a “failure to adequately secure this prisoner.”
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are doing just that,” Barr said.
He added that investigating Epstein’s dealings is a top priority of the Justice Department.
“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability. But let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” the attorney general said, adding that any co-conspirator in the case “should not rest easy.”
“This sex trafficking case was very important to the Department of Justice and to me personally,” Barr also said, noting it was also important to agents working on it and to victims “who had the courage to come forward and deserve the opportunity to confront the accused in the courtroom.”
Over the weekend, New York City’s medical examiner office completed an autopsy, saying Epstein’s cause of death was “pending further information at this time.”
In a brief statement on the night of Aug. 11, Barbara Sampson, the city’s chief medical examiner, said that Dr. Michael Baden observed the autopsy examination, reported the New York Daily News. “This is routine practice,” Sampson said.
“My office defers to the involved law enforcement agencies regarding other investigations around his death,” the medical examiner added. “Inquiries regarding the determination of the Chief Medical Examiner should be directed towards my office.”