Epstein’s autopsy ‘points to homicide,’ pathologist hired by brother says
A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother said Wednesday that evidence suggested that Epstein did not die by suicide but may have been strangled.
The New York City medical examiner’s office concluded in August that Epstein hanged himself in his jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
But the private pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, said on the morning TV show “Fox & Friends” that Epstein, 66, experienced a number of injuries — among them a broken bone in his neck — that “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.”
“I think that the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide,” said Baden, who observed the autopsy done by city officials.
Baden, a former New York City medical examiner and a Fox News contributor, added, “I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”
The findings by Baden were strongly disputed by the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, who previously ruled that Epstein’s death Aug. 10 in the Metropolitan Correctional Center was a suicide.
“I stand firmly behind our determination of the cause and manner of death in this case,” Sampson said in an interview Wednesday. “In general, fractures of the hyoid bone and the cartilage can be seen in suicides and homicides.”
The hyoid is a bone near the Adam’s apple in a man.
Sampson also dismissed Baden’s contention that the circumstances around Epstein’s death suggested other people may have been involved. She said her office had done a “complete investigation,” taking into consideration information gathered by law enforcement in making the determination.
“No one finding can be taken in isolation,” she said.
Baden served briefly as New York City’s medical examiner. He was provisionally appointed to the position in 1978 and dismissed just a year later, by then-mayor Ed Koch. In later years, he went on to work as a consultant on a number of high-profile cases.
On Wednesday, Baden said Epstein had “three fractures in the hyoid bone, the thyroid cartilage.” He said those injuries were “very unusual for suicide and more indicative of strangulation — homicidal strangulation.”
The autopsy also showed Epstein had several bones broken in his neck. But the city medical examiner said Epstein’s death was “hanging” and the manner was “suicide.”
Before that determination was made public, an article in The Washington Post noted Epstein’s injuries included a broken hyoid bone, an injury that could have been a sign of strangulation, as well as suicide by hanging.
The article helped fuel conspiracy theories that speculated Epstein may have been killed to prevent him from ensnaring his coterie of rich and powerful friends into his legal woes.
At the time, several medical officials cautioned against relying solely on the broken hyoid as evidence of strangulation. “It’s not a slam dunk,” said Marcella Sorg, a forensic anthropologist. She said a broken hyoid is “a sign of neck trauma” that can occur in both strangulation and hanging cases.
The death led to several investigations into how a high-profile inmate apparently killed himself just weeks after he was placed on suicide watch after a failed attempt to take his own life. Epstein was a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender.
Pathologist Michael Baden, who was hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother, says he believes the financier’s death at a New York City jail was a murder, not suicide.