Epstein had been off suicide watch for more than a week

One of these days we might actually learn exactly how convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein wound up dead, but for the moment we’re still watching a game of finger-pointing unfold in the media. In the early hours after learning that he had killed himself, everyone (including yours truly) seemed to be under the assumption that he was on suicide watch. And yet somehow he managed to take himself out, assuming you don’t believe any of the rampant conspiracy theories making the rounds. But now, as confirmed by ABC News, we’re learning that the guards weren’t even checking on him every thirty minutes as they were supposed to and there is no video of the cell from when he accomplished the deed.

Jail protocols requiring routine checks on the wellbeing of accused sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein appear to have not been followed in the hours before the millionaire was found hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, sources told ABC News on Sunday.

As an inmate in the Special Housing Unit at MCC, Epstein should have been checked on by a correctional officer every 30 minutes, according to Bureau of Prison protocols. But sources told ABC News that protocol was not followed prior to Epstein’s death by suicide.

In recent weeks, the correctional officers’ union has complained of understaffing. Those gripes are now part of the investigation into whether the 30-minute checks were happening, sources said.

According to sources from inside the jail, Epstein had originally been placed on suicide watch on July 23. That followed the initial incident where he either tried to kill himself or was attacked by another inmate, depending on which story you believe. But he was taken off suicide watch on July 29. They only had him on suicide watch for six days? Prison officials discounted the claims that he was attacked, so they apparently believed he had tried to take his own life. If that’s the case, what would lead them to think he was no longer suicidal less than a week later?

One person ABC News spoke to speculated that Epstein may have “charmed his way” off of the suicide watch list. Given how he was able to manipulate so many other people over the course of his life I suppose that’s possible. But following jail protocol, he would have had to convince a trained clinical psychologist that he was no longer a danger to himself. Even if there’s nothing fishy going on here, the wheels obviously came off the normal procedures at some point.

Muddying the waters are the claims that the guards at the Manhattan jail were working heavy loads of overtime shifts and the facility is understaffed. Under those conditions, they might easily have failed to do the required thirty-minute checks and mistakes were certainly possible.

As of this morning, officials haven’t even listed an official cause of death yet. An autopsy was performed, but the results have yet to be released. But with everything we’ve learned over the past 48 hours, rather than looking for any sort of grand conspiracy, it’s beginning to appear as if this might have been nothing more than a confluence of incompetence and mistakes leading up to an opportunity for Jeffrey Epstein to take the “easy” way out rather than face his day in court.

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