A few days ago medical examiner Michael Baden went on Fox News to challenge the findings of New York City’s chief medical examiner, with respect to the death of Jeffrey Epstein. Baden had been hired by Epstein’s brother, and he also has a reputation for his interest in high profile cases and seeking the limelight. That said, he may not be entirely wrong in his views that the evidence indicates Epstein may have been murdered rather than having committed suicide. Other independent experts have weighed in and they indicate some points of interest that ought to be taken into consideration, with respect to the Epstein autopsy. Rolling Stone:
“The reason we do full autopsies is to make sure that the outsides and the insides correlate and that everything makes sense. I always do an autopsy with a skeptical lens,” Priya Banerjee, M.D., an independent board-certified forensic pathologist at Anchor Forensic Pathology tells Rolling Stone, noting that since she was not directly involved with the investigation, she could not comment on specifics of the case. “In addition, any death in-custody is scrutinized in fine detail to evaluate what led to the person’s death.”
In cases like this with a detailed workup, Banerjee says that she would usually X-ray all the bones involved individually, and take microscopic sections to characterize them, as well as possibly get additional evaluation by a forensic anthropologist in order to get a better idea of what caused the fractures. “When I see injury of the neck, it’s always worrisome. The neck is generally a very protected area,” says Banerjee, who has worked on hundreds of cases involving injuries to the neck including hangings as well as homicidal strangulation. “The hyoid bone is a very delicate U-shaped bone. It is easily broken when pressed, similar to how a wishbone in a turkey can break with pressure. It is as the base of the tongue, high up in the neck in a very protected area, so that’s why it’s not easily reached.”
The larynx contains the Adam’s apple, Bannerjee explains. Towards the back of the neck, the side portions of the larynx become thinner and more easily injured. “I say with skepticism that traditionally I do not see this described extent of injury with suicides,” she says. “These are definitely highly atypical and highly concerning.”
A second expert rendered an opinion.
According to Judy Melinek, M.D., a board-certified forensic pathologist and CEO of PathologyExpert Inc., it’s not the location or number of fractures that matter, but the location of the ligature relative to the fracture in the context of the death scene and other autopsy findings of injury.
“If the fractures are nowhere near the ligature furrow and [if] there are defensive injuries on the arms, then the case is more consistent with a homicide being covered up as a suicidal hanging,” Melinek, who also was not involved with the investigation, therefore cannot comment on specifics, tells Rolling Stone. “If there are no other injuries to the body and the hyoid and thyroid fractures correspond to the location of the furrow, then it could realistically be a hanging suicide.” So far, no evidence of defensive wounds has made public. The ME did not respond to a request for comment to clarify. […]
However, as Melinek points out, there’s not really enough information available to know what happened. “Until the police reports, scene and autopsy photos, and jail hallway videos are released or discovered as part of a civil legal proceeding, there is no way of knowing whether the Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Sampson, or Dr. Baden are relying on incomplete information,” she says.
The conversation always cycles back to this same exact point, irregardless of who’s having it: until all the evidence, in the form of photographs and videos are examined, there is not going to be an end to this mystery. And it’s not conspiracy theory to point out that guards falling asleep and Epstein’s cell mate being removed, are not exactly standard operating procedure, either, and that it is reasonable to view these facts with suspicion. This case is not closed, and it’s well in the public’s interest that all the facts come out so that it can be closed and not join the ranks of the Kennedy assassinations and 911 as perennial CT favorites.