WARNING: This story makes reference to sexual abuse and human trafficking.

A modelling agent close to Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his jail cell in Paris.

The city’s police force is currently investigating the circumstances of the death of 75-year-old Jean-Luc Brunel. He was found dead in his La Santa prison cell on Saturday morning.

Brunel’s lawyers appeared to suggest in a statement that the former modelling agent had killed himself like Epstein in a US jail in 2019.

“Jean-Luc Brunel never stopped declaring his innocence,” they said.

“His decision was not guided by guilt but by a deep sentiment of injustice.”

They did not further clarify the circumstances of Brunel’s death or the jail’s suicide prevention measures.

Brunel ran several modelling agencies in the 1980s and 1990s and was believed to be a key accomplice in Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring. Epstein’s main accuser Virginia Roberts Guiffre alleged that Brunel poached women for the US financier as well as other parties involved in the alleged sex trafficking charges.

Brunel was central to the French investigation into these charges. Several women told French police that they had been sexually assaulted by Brunel. They said they were shocked by the news because of the ramifications it had for their trial and to see justice.

One of those women was Dutch former model Thusia Huisman. She alleged that Brunel drugged and raped her when she was a teen.

“It makes me angry because I’ve been fighting for years,” said Huisman via the ABC.

Huisman like other victims said she felt dishearted by Brunel’s death because it meant he will never face trial. His alleged victims might not get the legal recognition that they were victims either.

An investigation by French authorities began in 2019. Brunel was detained at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 as he was leaving the country on what he told authorities was a “holiday”. He was released on bail last November but was ordered by authorities to return to prison in the days leading up to his trial.

Image: Getty Images / Davidoff Studios Photography