NEW YORK — Authorities are investigating after finding wealthy financier and accused child predator Jeffrey Epstein dead Saturday morning in his New York jail cell, law enforcement officials said.
Epstein, 66, died of an apparent suicide by hanging, according to officials. He had been indicted on sex trafficking charges in July.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 10:30 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: A person familiar with the probe of Jeffrey Epstein's death at a federal jail told The Associated Press that guards are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates in his unit every half hour, when they actually weren't.
Surveillance video reviewed after the death showed guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, according to the person familiar with the investigation.
The person wasn't authorized to disclose information and spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
The Justice Department said earlier Tuesday that two guards assigned to watch Epstein had been placed on administrative leave.
Update 2:45 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: The warden of the jail where Epstein was found dead Saturday has been temporarily reassigned and two of the staff in Epstein's unit have been placed on leave in the aftermath of the wealthy financier's death, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.
In a statement obtained by Courthouse News, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the personnel actions were directed by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who said Monday that authorities were investigating "serious irregularities" in Epstein's treatment at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York.
"Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant," Kupec said.
Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide Saturday in his jail cell at MCC. Officials said Sunday an autopsy had been completed to determine Epstein's exact cause and manner of death, although officials have not provided any details on the results.
Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Aug. 13: Authorities raided Epstein's private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands Monday, emphasizing that the investigation into his alleged sex trafficking ring is ongoing, despite his death, according to multiple reports.
An unidentified source told the Miami Herald that FBI agents, U.S. Customs personnel, local police and officers with the New York Police Department searched Epstein's estate on Little St. James Island days after he was found dead in his New York City jail cell. CBS News reported authorities arrived on the island by boat and traveled to Epstein's estate by golf cart.
Epstein allegedly trafficked girls for sex on the island, which has sometimes been called "pedophile island" in the wake of his initial prosecution on allegations he molested girls in Florida over decade ago, the Herald reported.
The raid happened Monday around 10:30 a.m., NBC News reported.
"We were just trying to look at pretty fish and swim with turtles, and here we are in the middle of an FBI raid," Kelly Quinn, the owner of Salty Dog Day Sails, told NBC News. "This has been something on our radar for years. ... We're all really curious why it's happening now."
Update 10:20 p.m. EDT Aug. 12: The Associated Press reported that, according to an unnamed source, one of the people guarding Epstein when he died was not a correctional officer. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.
The AP reported that federal prisons with shortages of fully trained guards resort to other staff fill in for correctional officers.
Update 11:15 a.m. EDT Aug. 12: U.S. Attorney General William Barr said Monday that Epstein's alleged victims "deserve justice, and they will get it," despite the wealthy financier's death Saturday in a New York jail.
"I was appalled, and indeed the whole department was frankly angry to learn of the MCC's (Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York) failure to adequately secure this prisoner," Barr said.
Citing unidentified officials, The New York Times reported guards failed to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, as they were supposed to, on the night of his death. He had been placed on suicide watch after a suspected suicide attempt about weeks earlier, but the Times reported he had since been taken off suicide watch and left without a cellmate.
Barr said Monday that the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General are investigating "serious irregularities" in Epstein's time in jail.
"The case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Jeffrey Epstein," Barr said. "The victims deserve justice, and they will get it."
Update 7:15 p.m. EDT Aug. 11: The autopsy for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein has been completed, according to news reports.
However, New York City's Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said she needs more information before she can make a determination, The Washington Post reported.
The results of the autopsy have not been released.
Two other officials told the publication 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.
Officials said their findings about Epstein's detention are preliminary and could change.
Update 8:18 a.m. EDT Aug. 11: Several Epstein accusers are speaking out after the financier, who was facing sex-trafficking charges, was found dead Saturday.
"We've worked so hard to get here, and he stole that from us, too," Virginia Giuffre, who accused Epstein of sexual abuse, told The New York Times.
Model Alicia Arden, who accused Epstein of sexual assault, told the Times that Epstein "took himself out because he was too much of a coward to face justice and his accusers."
Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of rape, lamented in a statement that "he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people."
Update 7 p.m. EDT Aug. 10: Epstein was spotted by defense lawyers meeting with one of his attorneys just hours before he was found dead.
Attorney Patrick Joyce said he was visiting a client Friday evening when he saw Epstein in one of the rooms where inmates meet alone with their lawyer.
He says he looked the same as any other night. Joyce says Epstein was in a room meeting with a lawyer almost every night in the last week.
Joyce says he tried to return to the MCC to meet a client early Saturday morning but was told the facility was "totally locked down."
Update 5 p.m. EDT Aug. 10: Epstein was placed on suicide watch after an episode in July in which he sustained injuries to his neck, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
While on the watch, he received daily psychiatric evaluations.
It has not been confirmed if the bruising to his neck reported on July 23 was self-inflicted or the result of an assault.
Epstein was taken off suicide watch at the end of July, the person said.
The person wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press Saturday on condition of anonymity.
Update 1 p.m. EDT Aug. 10: : Attorney General William P. Barr and victims of Epstein have given statements on Epstein's death.
"I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody," Barr said in a statement. "Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI's investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein's death."
Victims gave their reactions to Epstein's death to The Miami Herald.
"I just can't believe it, we were finally feeling that we might have some justice after all these years,'' said Jena-Lisa Jones, who has said Epstein molested her when she was 14.
Eva Ford, the mother of victim Courtney Wild, questioned how Epstein was able to kill himself.
"How does someone who is this high profile commit suicide? They had to have cameras on him! Someone must have been paid to look the other way,'' she said.
Palm Beach lawyer Jack Scarola, who represents several victims, issued the following statement to The Herald:
"Epstein once again cheated his victims out of an opportunity for justice. While I'm sure none of them regret his death, all of them regret the information that died with him. The one expectation is that Epstein's death not derail the investigation into others who participated in his criminal activities. There are named and unnamed co-conspirators who still need to be brought to justice."
Update 11:20 a.m. EDT Aug. 10: The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a statement on Jeffrey Epstein's death.
"On Saturday, August 10, 2019, at approximately 6:30 a.m., inmate Jeffrey Edward Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit from an apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York," the statement said.
Staff used "life-saving measures" on Epstein, which were continued by EMS workers, according to the statement. Epstein was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The FBI is investigating Epstein's death, the statement said.
This is a breaking news story, check back for details.
Original report: Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his New York City jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, law enforcement officials said.
Epstein's body was found at about 6:30 a.m. EDT Saturday, The New York Times reported. He died of an apparent suicide by hanging, according to the Times.
Epstein, 66, was arrested in July on federal sex trafficking charges following accusations he had trafficked girls as young as 14. He was being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.
Epstein was a politically connected, multimillionaire financier. His arrest came amid questions about a 2008 non-prosecution deal that federal authorities gave Epstein that allowed him to escape a possible life sentence on charges he molested scores of teenage girls in his homes in Palm Beach, Florida, and New York City, according to previous Cox Media Group reports.
Court documents unsealed Friday revealed new details regarding what went on inside Epstein's homes and how he and his associates allegedly recruited young women and girls, including from a Florida high school, the Times reported. The documents were filed as part of a lawsuit Virginia Giuffre brought in 2015 against Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
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