Court documents show that Jeffrey Epstein made a first jailhouse suicide attempt in late July and was only placed on suicide watch for 24 hours after he was found with a torn bed sheet tied around his neck. Epstein was also left unmonitored for eight hours before he was found unresponsive in his jail cell on August 10.
An indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court Friday, charging that correctional officers assigned to monitor Epstein’s cell at the Manhattan Corrections Center falsely claimed that they performed their required rounds, reveals that Epstein was found with a “strip of bedsheet around his neck” in his cell on July 23. Michael Thomas, one of the two guards who was charged on Tuesday in relation to Epstein’s suicide, was among those to first discover Epstein unresponsive in late July.
Following the apparent suicide attempt, Epstein was placed on suicide watch for 24 hours; for close to a week after that he was under constant “psychological observation.” On July 30, he was returned to the Special Housing Unit (SHU), reserved for inmates who pose a security risk.
The indictment, shared by Business Insider, corroborates previous reports that psychological staff at MCC issued a directive that Epstein have a cell mate. But on the morning August 9, Epstein’s cell mate was moved out of the facility in a “routine, pre-arranged transfer” and was not replaced. The 66-year-old, who was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, was found hanged in his cell at about 6:30 the next morning.
The second guard charged with falsifying logs, Tova Noel, began her shift at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 9. She was scheduled to work a double, 16-hour-shift, the indictment states. By 10 p.m., all inmates were in their cells for the night, and Noel was required to do an institutional count at the time. She did not, although she submitted a “count slip” stating that she had. According to the indictment, this would continue overnight, and after Thomas began his shift at 12 a.m,, when the two corrections officers were the only guards assigned to the SHU, where Epstein was alone in a cell: Both guards allegedly failed to perform any of the institutional counts throughout the night, or do the required rounds in the SHU every 30 minutes. The indictment indicates that the corrections officers would submit count slips roughly every two hours, meaning that they could not have been asleep for longer than two hours at a time, though the indictment states there was one two-hour period in which the guards appeared not to move at their desks, suggesting they were asleep.
At approximately 10:30 p.m., “Noel briefly walked up to, and then walked back from, the door to the tier in which Epstein was housed,” the indictment reads. Neither guard checked on Epstein’s cell at any time after that, until he was found unresponsive at 6:30 a.m. the next day.
The indictment states that Noel used the computer “periodically throughout the night,” when she browsed the internet for benefit sites and furniture sales. Thomas also used the computer three times between 1 a.m. and 6 p.m., when he searched for sports news and motorcycle sales.
Citing law enforcement sources, TMZ reports that Thomas and Noel both pleaded not guilty to falsifying the jail logs and each have been released on $100,000 bail.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.