Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide inside a Manhattan jail has spawned anger online and led to a rise in conspiracy theories about the death of the supposed billionaire and convicted child sex-trafficker.
Epstein was found dead in the morning hours of Saturday inside his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, NBC News reported. The report noted that Epstein had hanged himself. Epstein was transported to a nearby hospital and was in cardiac arrest when he arrived, the report added. He was declared dead in the morning, sources confirmed to the outlet.
The 66-year-old financier had been convicted in 2007 on charges that he procured an underage girl for prostitution, but he served just 13 months in a controversial deal that allowed him to be released from jail to go to his place of business. Epstein was arrested in July on a new set of federal sex-trafficking charges.
Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide prompted some strong reactions online, with many expressing anger that he was gone before facing justice for the allegations that he had sexually assaulted minors. Others were angry that he was not kept under proper suicide watch to prevent what he reportedly carried out in the early morning hours on Saturday.
Others demanded an explanation from authorities in Manhattan about how Epstein was able to take his life when he was believed to have been on suicide watch.Many others questioned how Epstein was able to commit suicide in jail after he had reportedly attempted suicide one other time and was considered one of the most high-profile prisoners in the entire jail system. This led to an immediate rise in conspiracy theories that his suicide may not have been all it seemed.
A number of online conspiracy theorists had already expressed fears that Epstein would be killed or attempt to take his own life before his trial, where potentially damaging details could have been revealed. A swatch of court documents released on Friday showed alleged connections to a number of very powerful men.
As The Daily Beast reported, a woman named Virginia Giuffre had filed a lawsuit claiming that Epstein and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell kept her as a sex slave and directed her to have sex with many of Epstein's rich and powerful friends, including former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Britain's Prince Andrew, whom Giuffre had previously accused. There were a number of powerful men not identified by name, including who Giuffre said was another prince, a foreign president, and a well-known prime minister.
Richardson, Prince Andrew, and others named have released statements calling the allegations false.There are not yet details on exactly how Jeffrey Epstein may have committed suicide or when the act took place.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.