Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, according to multiple reports Saturday, raising questions about his time in federal custody while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
Several people familiar with the investigation told NBC News that Epstein was not under supervision when he killed himself in his cell in a Manhattan federal prison.
His body was found early Saturday morning and he was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead, officials said.
The New York Times, citing a prison official, reported that Epstein was in a special unit in the prison with extra security but wasn't specifically under suicide watch.
Epstein was behind bars at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan over charges of sexually trafficking minors, to which he had pleaded not guilty.
His suicide comes hours after testimony from one of his accusers was made public in unsealed court documents, detailing the inner workings of his alleged operation.
Epstein was reportedly placed on suicide watch after an incident in late July when he was found unconscious in his jail cell with injuries to his neck.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Saturday he was “appalled” by Epstein’s death and that the Justice Department's watchdog would open an investigation along with the FBI.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death,” he said in a statement.