The body of Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in his Manhattan federal prison cell in August, bore signs of homicide despite an official ruling of suicide, a forensic pathologist hired by Epstein's family told Fox News on Wednesday. Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner who was hired by Epstein's brother and observed the autopsy, told Fox & Friends that the autopsy's findings are more consistent with homicidal strangulation than suicidal hanging.
Baden, 85, noted that Epstein, 66, had two fractures on the left and right sides of his larynx, specifically the thyroid cartilage or Adam's apple, as well as one fracture on the left hyoid bone above the Adam's apple.
"Those three fractures are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation," Baden, who is also a Fox News contributor, said.
Although Baden stressed that his independent study was not complete and that there was not enough information to be conclusive yet, he called the three fractures "rare."
"I've not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case," he said. Throughout his career, Baden reportedly probed cases involving O.J. Simpson, President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., record producer Phil Spector, New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez and many others, as well as hosted HBO's series Autopsy.
He explained that if a person weighed 120 pounds and their head weighed 10 pounds, there would be 110 pounds of pressure on the neck at the jaw amid a hanging. But someone else's hand squeezing around that person's neck could double or even triple the pressure, Baden said.
There were also hemorrhages in Epstein's eyes that were common in homicidal strangulation and uncommon, though not unheard of, in suicidal hangings, he said. "The prominent hemorrhage in the soft tissues of the neck next to the fractures is evidence of a fresh neck compression that could have caused the death," he said.
Epstein was found hanging in his prison cell at the high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and late declared dead, investigators said. At the time, he was awaiting trial on federal sex-trafficking charges involving underage girls. Prosecutors alleged that the previously convicted sex offender paid girls as young as 14 hundreds of dollars for massages before he molested them in his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005.
New York City Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson ruled Epstein's cause of death to be suicide by hanging, although Baden told Fox News that "it appears that this could have been a mistake. There's evidence here of homicide that should be investigated, to see if it is or isn't homicide."