GlobalWhat Really Happened on Jeffrey Epstein's Private Island?

What Really Happened on Jeffrey Epstein’s Private Island?

“There are no tunnels!” says the shirtless young man standing inside an empty electrical shed on Jeffrey Epstein’s private island, more than a year after the disgraced billionaire child molester died in prison.

It was August 2020, and the man was an urban explorer and TikTok star named Andy Bracco. He filmed himself sneaking onto Little St James Island in the US Virgin Islands, which locals sometimes refer to as “pedophile island”.

He wasn’t the first and perhaps won’t be the last to sneak onto the island, which now sits abandoned while Epstein’s house and strange architecture are largely intact. Unsurprisingly, it became something of a morbid tourist attraction.

Prosecutors claim this was the center of an international sexual abuse ring, where girls as young as 14 were confined and assaulted.

In June 2022, the jury sentenced Epstein’s ex-partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking, which she denies.

But what has happened to the island since Epstein’s death in 2019 and what state is it in now?

On April 22, 2021, demolition crews tore down Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, making way for a new home meant to erase his memory.

By contrast, Little St James, which Epstein liked to call “Little St Jeff”, appears to have changed little since the days when Epstein made it his primary residence, protected from the prying eyes and lenses of governments and journalists.

“It seems they are trying to erase any memory of Epstein”

Bracco was just one of many intruders, including several YouTubers and online documentarians, as well as drone operators. According to Bracco, the island was still guarded by security systems in August 2020.

“There was a very worrying part when we didn’t notice what I think was an infrared camera next to the communications tower,” he told Newsweek. “He was pointing right at us, and if there was a sensor in front of us and depending on the software they had, it could have triggered an alarm. So we had to hurry.”

He also told The Sun: “There is active security there… the route we took avoided many cameras on the island, along with workers and guards.”

There have been some changes. In April of this year, the Sunday Mirror reported that workers had removed a large decorative sundial, several sculptures and statues, and the initials “JE” carved into the side of a blue-and-white-striped Egyptian-style “temple” in the southwest corner of the island.

“It seems like they are trying to erase any memory of Epstein from the island,” a local told the Mirror. “Even though it seems like heaven on earth, any connection with a man like Epstein is bad. “Everyone here just wants to forget about him and what he is accused of.”

The pool stays full

For the most part, Epstein’s island has remained as it was. Aerial photos taken in December 2021 show Epstein’s hilltop mansion complex, with its swimming pool and boat dock, still intact, as well as several other buildings surviving across the island.

At Maxwell’s trial, Epstein’s pilot, Larry Visoski, described the main residence as “an exploding house”: each room was built out from the central courtyard and was its own bungalow separate.

The financier’s executive assistant, Cimberly Espinosa, testified that sand and palm trees were sent to Little St James to improve its beaches, and that it had its own firefighters as well as a fire truck.

In the photos, everything remains clean and pristine. The pool is full, the paths appear to be in good condition, the grass appears trimmed, and the palm trees continue to grow. At least from the outside, everything is just as it was, which is still disturbing.

Since it was vacated, the island has been the subject of passionate speculation and analysis by people around the world, who examine videos and images to try to uncover its mysteries.

Rumors of secret tunnels beneath the “temple” and elsewhere have not been corroborated, and the story that children’s bones were found lying in the nearby sea appears to be a fabrication.

Undated photo obtained by the US Department of Justice of an aerial view of Jeffrey Epstein’s private island

(PA)

Various parties compete to buy the island

Macabre as it may seem, both Little St James and its older brother, Great St James, which Epstein bought in 2016, attracted the interest of wealthy buyers.

According to the Miami Herald, whose 2018 “Perversion of Justice” investigation helped trigger Epstein’s eventual downfall, there is competition among various parties planning to use it as a private residence, with some even signing non-disclosure agreements with Epstein’s estate.

“There are people who are quite interested and very qualified to buy the islands, and I have some clients who have already visited the islands,” real estate agent April Newland told the newspaper in February.

Daniel H Weiner, a lawyer working for Epstein’s estate, confirmed that he had “received expressions of interest from numerous parties and two or three good faith offers on those properties.”

At the time, Epstein’s estate was eager to close a sale because it was facing cash problems. Denise George, attorney general of the US Virgin Islands, had frozen Epstein’s assets and was seeking a court order to seize his property, including the island.

Weiner said: “No serious buyer is interested in signing a contract on a multimillion-dollar property that, due to existing attorney general liens, cannot be sold to them.”

“In addition, to ensure that the estate receives maximum value in a sale, the estate would hire a broker, do extensive marketing, and obtain as many offers as the market generates. “The co-executors are not interested in incurring substantial estate expenses to market a property that cannot be sold.”

The legal battle between Denise George and Epstein’s estate is still ongoing, but a source told the New York Post that Little St James is likely to go up for sale in 2022.

Until then, it remains a perverse monument to one man’s ability to bend justice to his whims, frozen in time at the moment his web began to unravel.

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