American flags on Jeffrey Epstein's private islands lowered to half-staff

“They’re doing this as a remembrance, but the irony is he’ll only be remembered for the deviance,” said witness Kelly Quinn, a local boat captain.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Rich Schapiro

The American flags on Jeffrey Epstein's private island were lowered to half-staff four days after he died in an apparent jailhouse suicide.

A boat captain cruising past Little St. James, located off the coast of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, captured images and videos of the solemn sight Wednesday night.

“It was a real moment out there and it just felt so heavy,” said Captain Kelly Quinn, owner of Salty Dog Day Sails.

“I didn’t feel there was a realness of the end of Jeffrey Epstein until I saw that. That was a lot more literal.”

It wasn’t clear who lowered the two flags on opposite ends of the 70-acre island. But Quinn is nearly certain it was one of the employees Epstein hired to staff his lavish estate.

“They’re doing this as a remembrance, but the irony is he'll only be remembered for the deviance,” said Quinn.

Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.

Quinn said the American flag on the nearby island that Epstein owns, Great St. James, was also flying at half-staff on Wednesday.

Epstein, a wealthy money manager who was facing charges of trafficking and sexually abusing underage girls, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 10.

Law enforcement sources say he appeared to have hanged himself but the medical examiner has yet to release an official determination on his cause of death.

The flags on Little St. James were lowered two days after FBI agents were seen swarming the island and hauling evidence out of his 24,000-square foot mansion.

Drone footage showed the agents carrying multiple computers out of the residence as part of their ongoing investigation into Epstein's alleged sex trafficking network.

FBI agents on Little St. James Island, which was purchased by Jeffrey Epstein in 1998.Salty Dog Day Sails

In the hours after his death, federal prosecutors announced that the investigation into his possible co-conspirators would continue.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s death

Epstein, 66, was facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.

He purchased Little St. James in 1998 for $7.95 million. He went on to build a sprawling estate featuring a 24,000-square-foot private residence, two pools, a spa and a bizarre blue-striped structure that has fueled onlineconspiracy theories.

Epstein doubled his island collection in 2016 when he bought Great St. James for $22.5 million.