Jeffrey Epstein death ruled a suicide

NEW YORK — Update 4:15 p.m. EDT Aug 16: New York City's medical examiner has ruled Jeffrey Epstein's death a suicide.

The medical examiner's office said in a statement Friday that an autopsy and other evidence confirms the 66-year-old financier hanged himself in his cell at a federal jail.

Original report: Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy found that the multimillionaire, who died Saturday in a New York jail as he awaited trial on federal sex-trafficking charges, had multiple broken bones in his neck, the Washington Post is reporting.

The newspaper, citing two unnamed sources with knowledge of the autopsy results, said Epstein's injuries included a broken hyoid bone.

Experts said the breaks can happen when a person, especially one who is older, hangs himself; however, the injuries occur more frequently in people who are strangled to death, the Post reported.

Attorney General William Barr previously said Epstein, 66, died of an "apparent suicide" at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the Post reported. A guard there discovered the financier hanging and "unresponsive" in his jail cell, according to a Justice Department statement.

Although Epstein's autopsy was completed Sunday, it did not say what caused his death. New York City Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said she needed more information to make a determination, the Post reported.

Epstein was placed on suicide watch after a July 23 incident in which he sustained injuries to his neck, The Associated Press reported. He was taken off suicide watch at the end of July, the news agency reported.

According to a New York Times report, guards were not checking on Epstein every 30 minutes like they were supposed to the night he died. The Times cited a law-enforcement official with knowledge of his detention in its report.

Two other officials told the publication that the jail allowed Epstein to be alone in a cell two weeks after he was taken off suicide watch and transferred his cellmate. According to the officials, doing so violated the normal jail procedure.

Despite Epstein's death, authorities have vowed to continue investigating his alleged sex trafficking ring. Prosecutors said he sexually exploited and abused dozens of girls as young as 14 at his homes in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein previously avoided significant jail time and federal prosecution in 2008, when he agreed to plead guilty to a pair of lesser charges after he was accused of molesting girls in Palm Beach County, Florida. He served 13 months in jail and agreed to register as a sex offender as part of the deal.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.