'Breathe, Epstein, breathe': Guards say they attempted to revive incarcerated sex offender Jeffrey Epstein before he died by apparent suicide

Kelly McLaughlin
FILE- In this July 30, 2008 file photo, Jeffrey Epstein appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. Epstein has died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, says person briefed on the matter, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Post, Uma Sanghvi, File)

Associated Press


Guards at a Manhattan jail say they tried to revive convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein in his cell last week before he died from an apparent suicide.

Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive on Saturday morning while being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Guards heard shrieking from his jail cell and attempted to revive him while saying "breathe, Epstein, breathe," according to a report from CBS News. It remains unclear who was shrieking.

After Epstein was pronounced dead, his estranged brother, Marc Epstein, was called to identify the body, CBS reported.

Read more: Here's what conditions are like at the prison where Jeffrey Epstein apparently died by suicide

Employees at MCC told CNN that staffers who aren't prison guards are sometimes brought in to do guard duty and overtime shifts at the budget-constrained facility.

At least one of the two employees on duty when Epstein was found in his cell was not part of the regular detention workforce, a person briefed on the matter told CNN. It's unclear what the employee's actual job is, but workers who were hired as teachers and cooks often fill in at posts normally manned by detention officers.

"It's due to understaffing. It's due to not having enough correctional officers," Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, which represents staff at MCC, told CNN. "They would be performing the functions of correctional officers."

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr criticized MCC, and said he would investigate what happened.

"We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability," Barr said. "I was appalled and frankly angry to learn of the MCC's failure to adequately secure this prisoner."

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