Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy findings aren't public yet, but The Washington Post reported early Thursday that it found "multiple breaks in his neck bones," including the hyoid bone. Few people know what a hyoid bone is, but the Post spoke with several medical experts and reported that fractured hyoid bones are typically associated with "victims of homicide by strangulation," even if they can also "occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older."
The Post named only one of their experts, Jonathan Arden, and even he said a broken hyoid bone "generally raise questions about strangulation, but it is not definitive and does not exclude suicidal hanging," CNN's Oliver Darcy noted Thursday night. So why did the Post "concentrate on the broken hyoid bone to paint a picture of possible foul play" in Epstein's prison cell? Darcy spoke to four medical experts, including CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and they agreed that the reported autopsy findings are more consistent with hanging by suicide than strangulation, especially since Epstein was 66.
The fact that multiple neck bones were broken "actually suggests much more strongly that it was hanging versus strangulation," Gupta told Darcy. "You wouldn't break those other bones during a strangulation." Gerald Rodts, chief of spinal surgery at the Emory Clinic, agreed that "the presence of other broken bones in his neck, from a guy hanging 66 years old, is very consistent with suicidal hanging," adding that "classically with strangulation, you don't see broken bones. It's not common." Even a skeptical forensic pathologist said the reports pointed to suicide.
A Washington Post spokesperson stood by the report, telling Darcy on Thursday that the newspaper wasn't "'leaning into' any theory" and made "absolutely clear from the beginning that suicide remains a distinct possibility," reiterating that the experts contacted by the Post "said that this break is more common in strangulation." Read more at CNN.