CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses suicide.

A veteran medical pathologist has cast doubt on sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein’s suspected suicide, saying the injuries he sustained more likely point to homicide instead.

The revelation is likely to bolster widely-shared conspiracy theories that Epstein’s death was the result of foul play.

There’s a lot going on with this one, so here’s a quick recap: Epstein, a purported billionaire with ties to elite figures in the worlds of entertainment, academia, and politics, pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking in 2008. He received a sweetheart deal and walked free in 2011.

But he was arrested again in July this year after federal prosecutors accused him of trafficking “dozens” of underage girls between 2002 and 2005. He was held in New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center as he awaited trial on the new charges, but was found dead in his cell on August 10.

His death was a cause for despair among his accusers, who desperately wanted Epstein to face his day in court.

Questions have also been raised about the circumstances leading to his death: the staff tasked with guarding him reportedly fell asleep and didn’t check his cell for three hours on the night of his death, while two camera outside his cell were found to be nonoperational.  

This leads us to Dr. Michael Baden. Speaking on Fox & Friends overnight, Dr. Baden, who was hired by Epstein’s brother to attend the autopsy, said “on day one, there were findings that were unusual for suicidal hanging, and more consistent with ligature homicidal strangulation.”

Specifically, Dr Baden was concerned with a break in Epstein’s hyoid bone – a small bone which rests below the Adam’s apple. He said fractured hyoid bones are more commonly found in people who’ve been strangled to death than those who have died by hanging.

He called the circumstances leading to Epstein’s official cause of death “extremely unlikely,” echoing conspiracy theories that Epstein’s rich and powerful friends may have feared the incriminating consequences of Epstein facing trial.

“I’ve never seen it in fifty years of investigating all deaths that occur in prisons in New York State,” Dr. Baden said.

“The issue would be that somebody [would] come in and cause his death,” he added.

A key thing to keep in mind here is Baden’s bias as a paid consultant for the Epstein estate, but the original reports about the hyoid bone detail caused other experts to take pause. While it’s not conclusive evidence of strangulation, it is another detail that skeptics have used to build an alternative narrative of Epstein’s death.

“The issue… doesn’t mean this is a homicide, but certainly it deserves investigation, and the brother is concerned there is no investigation,” Dr Baden said.

Expect the speculation around this particular case to continue for a long time yet.


If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you are in distress, please call Lifeline on 13 11 44 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

You can also reach the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or chat online.