Disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly on “special observation watch” at the time of his alleged suicide on Saturday morning, but the protocols associated with the watch were not followed, officials said.
Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch — requiring checks every 15 minutes — at the end of July after he was found semiconscious in his cell with marks on his neck. However, after a week, he was reportedly removed from suicide watch and downgraded to “special observation status,” requiring checks every 30 minutes, according to the New York Post.
Epstein’s removal from suicide watch was done at his lawyers’ request, whom he had been meeting up to 12 hours a day, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Sources told the New York Times that the two staff members guarding the jail in the unit where Epstein killed himself, fell asleep, failed to check on him for about three hours and then falsified records to cover it up. One of the guards assigned to monitor Epstein was not even a full-time correctional officer.
According to the Wall Street Journal, another regulation said to have been disregarded was the required presence of a cellmate for inmates under second watch. The inmate reportedly left the cell just hours before Epstein died, however, it was not clear why the inmate was gone. Some observers speculated the man may have been taken out of the cell in advance to a court appearance, but, either way, the inmate was not replaced.
An autopsy was performed Sunday and the cause of death has been ruled to be suicide.
The FBI also raided Epstein’s island shortly after his death, according to Business Insider.