NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein has been raising questions about staffing at the federal prison where he was being held on sex trafficking charges.
The Metropolitan Correctional Center is chronically understaffed, according to published reports. A source told The Associated Press that the facility's Special Housing Unit was staffed with one guard working a fifth straight day of overtime and another who was working mandatory overtime.
Justice Department investigators are expected to focus on why Epstein was taken off suicide watch despite being found unconscious with marks on his neck in his cell last month. Under jail protocol, he was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes.
His cell mate was also moved, leaving Epstein alone.
Speaking at the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, Attorney General William Barr said Monday that the Justice Department has already found "serious irregularities'' and that he was angry to learn that staffers at the jail had "failed to adequately secure this prisoner.''
An attorney for some of Epstein's alleged victims, Lisa Bloom, says they are shocked and distraught.
"Now that he is gone the criminal case is with him and we are going to file civil litigation against Jeffrey Epstein's estate," Bloom said.
CBS News analyst Rikki Kleiman expected the victims’ attorneys will seek to freeze Epstein’s assets to help with civil suits.
“They have a window of one year. No matter how old you are now and no matter how long ago sexual abuse occurred while you were a child,” Kleiman said.
The alleged victims will have a year to present their case thanks to a newly signed law in New York State.
Attorney General Barr notes the case was far from over and he warned anyone who may have conspired with Epstein "should not rest easy.''
Epstein's death sparked conspiracy theories online that he was murdered to keep him from incriminating high profile associates. However, there is no evidence supporting that claim.
Autopsy results have not been made public, but the city medical examiner says she's confident the cause of death is hanging by suicide.