Epstein, a 66-year-old financier who was arrested in July on sex trafficking charges, was being held in New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center but, according to the Bureau of Prisons, appeared to have killed himself early Aug. 10.
Law enforcement officials told the New York Post that there are nine cameras inside the center but they’re focused on areas outside the cells as opposed to inside the cells.
According to The Associated Press, which cited a source, the guards in the center were working overtime because it was short-staffed. One guard on Epstein’s unit was working overtime for the fifth consecutive day. Another guard was working mandatory overtime.
A law enforcement source told The New York Times that Epstein was alone in his cell when he died. The source said that Epstein’s cellmate was transferred and that guards were guided by protocol to check on Epstein every 30 minutes but failed to check for most of the night.
Bob Hood, a former chief of internal affairs for the Bureau of Prisons, told the paper he didn’t understand why Epstein was taken off suicide watch. “A man is dead. The Bureau of Prisons dropped the ball. Period,” Hood said.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, who said she’s toured the center, told the Post that she found it “very difficult to understand how something like this could have happened.”
“My understanding is that he should have been on suicide watch and the people on suicide watch are placed in a type of jumpsuit that wouldn’t allow them to hurt themselves or others,” she said.
Barr Reacts; Medical Examiner Speaks
Attorney General William Barr said that the FBI and the Department of Justice’s inspector general were opening investigations into Epstein’s death. Barr said in a statement he was “appalled” at hearing the news and said it raised “serious questions that must be answered.”
A source told Reuters that the financier wasn’t on suicide watch at the time of his death. On July 24, Epstein was reportedly found injured and semi-conscious in his prison cell with marks on his neck. It remains unknown whether that incident was a suicide attempt or an assault by another inmate.
Reports indicated that Epstein was placed on suicide watch in late July but later taken off at some point.
A source who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record told Reuters that Epstein was found “hanging by his neck.” The source also said that at the facility two jail guards are required to check on all inmates every 30 minutes. But the source said that the “procedure was not followed overnight.”
— Cristian Benavides (@cbenavidesTV) August 11, 2019
Meanwhile, the New York City medical examiner’s office completed an autopsy on the body of Epstein, saying his cause of death was “pending further information at this time.”
“Today, a medical examiner performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein. The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time. At the request of those representing the decedent and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice,” Barbara Sampson, the city’s chief medical examiner, said in a Aug. 11 statement.
“My office defers to the involved law enforcement agencies regarding other investigations around this death. Inquiries regarding the determination of the chief medical examiner should be directed towards my office.”
Epoch Times reporter Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.