FILE – This July 27, 2006 arrest file photo made available by the Palm Beach, Fla., Sheriff’s Office shows Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein, a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender, has been arrested in New York on sex trafficking charges. Two law enforcement officials said Epstein was taken into federal custody Saturday, July 6, 2019, on charges involving sex-trafficking allegations that date to the 2000s. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, File)
According to The Washington Post, Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy found that several bones in his neck had been broken. They reported:
Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.
People familiar with the autopsy, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive stage of the investigation, said Sampson’s office is seeking additional information on Epstein’s condition in the hours before his death. That could include video evidence of the jail hallways, which may establish whether anyone entered Epstein’s cell during the night he died; results of a toxicology screening to determine if there was any unusual substance in his body; and interviews with guards and inmates who were near his cell.
The cause of death remains “pending.”
Although Epstein’s death has been characterized as an “apparent suicide,” many believe it may have been a murder instead. A preliminary result such as this is sure to give credence to that theory.
There are certainly many people who had an interest in seeing Epstein silenced.
There isn’t a ton of information available about hyoid fractures. According to Wikipedia, “Neck trauma, commonly by strangulation, athletic activities, and car accidents, is the cause of a hyoid bone fracture. Other causes include violent vomiting, gunshot wounds, and hanging.” This injury accounts for only 0.002% of all fractures.
The fact that Epstein’s hyoid bone was broken is not proof that he’d been strangled. But it sure as hell has to be investigated and ruled out.
He very well could have sustained a fractured hyoid bone from hanging. This injury is found in 27% of hanging victims. However, the figure doubles for victims of strangulation.
The Washington Post found:
A handful of studies conducted over the past decade have produced conflicting results about the likelihood of a hyoid break in a suicide. In a study of 20 suicidal hangings in Thailand, published in 2010, one fourth of the men who hanged themselves had broken hyoids. In a larger study of suicidal hangings of young-adults and middle-aged people in India, conducted from 2010 to 2013, hyoid damage was found in just 16 of 264 cases, or six percent. The study addressed the discrepancies in academic reviews, saying wide variations in findings of hyoid breaks are “possibly due to factors like age of the victim, weight of the victim, type of suspension and height of suspension.”
To illustrate the significance of a hyoid fracture in a death inquiry, the Post cites the case of Ronnie L. White, a teenager who was accused of killing a police officer in 2008.
[White] died of an apparent suicide in a suburban Washington jail cell. But two days later, the cause of death was changed to homicide when a Maryland state medical examiner discovered the teen had a broken hyoid.
The incident fanned racial tension and fueled conspiracy theories about the suspect’s death in Prince George’s County, Md.
Medical examiners concluded White was probably strangled with a sheet, towel or “crux of the elbow.” The officer who moved his body pleaded guilty to obstruction. But no one was ever charged in White’s death. A federal judge said in 2013 that it remained a mystery whether the inmate was slain or took his own life.
If Epstein’s hyoid bone had not been broken, those who believe he may have been murdered would be seen as conspiracy theorists. Because it had been broken, foul play remains a possibility which must be investigated.
One thing is for sure. In the next few days, we will all become experts on the anatomy of the neck.