An autopsy into billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s untimely death has unearthed a “very unusual” finding, according to a medical examiner.
The wealthy financier was found unresponsive in his New York jail cell on Saturday but the apparent suicide sparked conspiracy theories owing to his connections.
An autopsy of the accused sex trafficker has revealed his neck was broken in several places, according to two law enforcement sources.
These injuries can occur to people who hang themselves but may also result from someone being strangled.
The autopsy results have not been publicly released but the details were leaked to media and it is unclear when the report will be made official.
A law enforcement source familiar with the Epstein case said there was no evidence or suggestion of foul play, but cautioned the investigation into his death was still at an early stage.
A medical examiner not connected to the case offered his opinion on the neck fracture discovery and said the broken bones were not a typical finding with suicide.
Bergen County medical examiner in New Jersey Dr Zhongxue Hua said Epstein’s death was “very unusual” but he warned not to jump to conclusions.
“It’s unusual to have a neck fracture,” Dr Hua said. “But the first question to address is when did it occur.”
If Epstein’s neck fracture was fresh, Dr Hua said, then “at a minimum, it’s a very unusual suicide”.
Epstein, 66, who once counted US President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton as friends, had been awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
He had pleaded not guilty in July to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005.
Prosecutors said he recruited and paid girls to give him massages, which became sexual in nature.
Attorney General William Barr has said the criminal investigation into any possible co-conspirators would continue.
Mr Barr, whose agency oversees the Bureau of Prisons, has also demanded an investigation into Epstein’s death and ordered the removal of the prison’s warden.
Epstein was taken off a suicide watch last month for reasons that have not been explained, and was supposed to have been checked on by a guard every 30 minutes.
But investigators learned those checks weren’t done for several hours before he was found on Saturday morning.
Two guards assigned to watch Jeffrey Epstein the night he died in jail have been placed on leave and the warden has been removed as the investigation continues.
A representative of the New York Medical Examiner’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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