An updated autopsy found that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones, according to the New York medical examiner.
A report Wednesday evening in the Washington Post, citing “two people familiar with the [autopsy] findings,” said that 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.”
“The office of New York City’s chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, completed an autopsy of Epstein’s body Sunday. But Sampson listed the cause of his death as pending,” wrote The Post.
Citing “people familiar with the autopsy,” the Post wrote that Sampson’s office is seeking information that would support or rebut a homicide — for example, video evidence of the jail hallways and a toxicology screening to determine whether he might’ve been drugged.
The president of the National Association of Medical Examiners told the newspaper that pathologists who find a broken hyoid typically conduct further investigation.
Jonathan L. Arden said that “in general, a finding of a broken hyoid requires pathologists to conduct more extensive investigation. That investigation can include analysis of the location of the noose, how narrow the noose is, and if the body experienced any substantial drop in the course of the hanging. The age of the deceased is also important, Arden said. The hyoid starts out as three small bones with joint-like connections but hardens during middle age into a u-shape that can break more easily,” reports the Post.
“If, hypothetically, the hyoid bone is broken, that would generally raise questions about strangulation, but it is not definitive and does not exclude suicidal hanging,” he said.