UPDATED 8/12 9:53 p.m. ET The Associated Press is reporting that one of the two guards that was supposed to be watching Jeffrey Epstein on the night of his death was not a correctional officer. The information comes via "a person familiar with operations" at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The source also said that Epstein used a bed sheet to hang himself.
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Prison guards were supposed to check on Jeffrey Epstein every 30 minutes, but that procedure was ignored the night before the jailed financier was found dead in his cell.
The New York Times reports that Epstein’s cellmate was also transferred, which left Epstein alone only two weeks after he was removed from suicide watch. Such a decision doesn’t fall in line with the jail’s standard procedure, which called for Epstein to remain with a cellmate and for guards to check on inmates every half-hour. The failures in Epstein’s detention at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center have intensified questions about his suicide and could be further investigated by the Justice Department and FBI.
The federal Bureau of Prisons has also been fiercely criticized for taking Epstein off suicide watch after he was found injured in his cell on July 23, with bruises on his neck that could imply he tried to kill himself. He was subsequently placed on a 24-hour suicide watch and underwent daily psychiatric evaluations. Six days later, it was determined he was no longer a threat to his own life. According to the Times, when Epstein was removed from suicide watch, the jail told the Justice Department that Epstein would have a cellmate and a guard “would look into his cell” every 30 minutes.
The 66-year-old was awaiting his trial on federal charges that he sexually abused dozens of teenage girls. He was found dead in his cell at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. The previous day, thousands of documents surfaced in a civil case, supplying alarming details about how he charmed adolescent girls into prostitution and paid them to give him erotic massages at his mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
It’s unclear why procedure wasn’t followed for Epstein. Per the Times, the jail has been short-staffed for some time now, and both guards who were on duty had been working overtime.