Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire alleged to have sexually trafficked and abused young girls for years, was left alone and unmonitored for “several” hours before he was found dead of an apparent suicide on Saturday, the Washington Post reported last night.
Epstein, who was in federal custody in New York, was found hanging in his cell after earlier being found injured and semi-conscious in an apparent suicide attempt. Still, Epstein was not on suicide watch in the hours before his death and was not being monitored according to protocol, per the Post:
Officers should have been checking on Epstein, who was being held in a special housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, every 30 minutes, and, under normal circumstances, he also should have had a cellmate, according to the person familiar with the matter and union officials representing facility employees.
But a person who had been assigned to share a cell with Epstein was transferred on Friday, and — for reasons that investigators are still exploring — he did not receive a new cellmate, the person familiar with the matter said Sunday night. That left Epstein, who had previously been placed on suicide watch, alone and unmonitored — at least in the hours before his death — by even those officers assigned to guard him.
Not great! The two guards charged with watching him were also reportedly working “extreme” overtime shifts due to a staffing shortage at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
In variously off-color ways, local officials called for accountability in Epstein’s death. As the New York Post reported:
“Something doesn’t smell right, and it’s not [Epstein’s] dead body,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.
State Attorney General Letitia James said she had toured the MCC and found it “very difficult to understand how something like this could have happened.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who attended the Iowa State Fair as part of his campaign for the presidency, told The Post that Epstein had “a huge amount of information, potentially, about some of the richest and most powerful people in the country, and it was clear that he had either been attacked or tried to commit suicide previously.”
“And then, you know, suddenly they’re not putting him on suicide watch? I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t understand how those facts fit together,” he said.
An autopsy was reportedly conducted on Sunday, but the determination and cause of his death remain “pending” at this time, according to the tabloid.