CHARLOTTE AMALIE, Virgin Islands — Jeffrey Epstein’s armed guards and the sharp rocks that lie beneath the turquoise waters glistening round his Caribbean island have lengthy deterred boaters from the world, however curiosity has overcome concern for the reason that financier apparently killed himself in jail as he awaited trial in New York on intercourse trafficking costs.
Vacationers and locals alike are powering up boats to take a better have a look at a spot nicknamed “Pedophile Island” that lies simply off the southeast coast of St. Thomas. Among the many sights are two big white-and-yellow cockatiel statues that stand guard on the high of a set of stairs close to the dock, in addition to a life-size Holstein-Friesian cow statue that locals say was moved to a special spot weekly and generally even every day whereas Epstein lived there.
“No one used to pay attention to it,” Jon Stewart, the proprietor of a constitution boat firm, stated Wednesday. Now, “there’s a ton more tourists.”
Federal authorities take into account Little St. James Island to have been Epstein’s main residence in the USA, a spot the place no less than one alleged sufferer stated in a court docket affidavit that she participated in an orgy in addition to had intercourse with Epstein and different folks.
Curiosity in St. Thomas peaked this week as a gaggle of FBI brokers descended on Little St. James Island and carried away what locals say have been a number of giant gadgets from certainly one of two islands that the 66-year-old Epstein owned.
“Now everyone is wondering what really happened to him and what’s going to happen to the island,” stated Yvonne Gentle, a retailer supervisor who spied the federal brokers whereas she watched a film along with her husband aboard their boat. “I was surprised to see them.”
An FBI spokesman stated the company wouldn’t be issuing any statements, however confirmed it was conducting what he known as a “court-authorized law enforcement activity.”
On a latest afternoon, solely a handful of Epstein’s workers have been seen kicking up mud as they drove round in all-terrain automobiles selecting up brown palm fronds on an island that after boasted dozens of employees and a number of other armed safety guards. Locals recalled that among the guards would come to the water’s edge if there have been snorkelers within the space, however Wednesday a lone armed guard solely shielded his face from a photographer with a shiny inexperienced umbrella.
It takes roughly 15 minutes to get to Little St. James Island by boat, and people who are unable to take action have questioned about Epstein’s property since it isn’t seen from many spots in St. Thomas.
Dean Bofenkamp, who was visiting from Youngstown, Ohio, to attend his son’s basketball recreation, stated he was craning his neck to catch a glimpse whereas on the airplane to St. Thomas.
“I was just curious where it was,” he stated.
Epstein purchased Little St. James Island greater than twenty years in the past and constructed a stone mansion with cream-colored partitions and a shiny turquoise roof on one finish of it. Surrounding it are a number of different constructions together with the maids’ quarters and an enormous, square-shaped white constructing on the opposite finish of the island that employees informed one another was a music room fitted with a grand piano and acoustic partitions. Its gold dome blew off through the lethal 2017 hurricane season.
He purchased neighbouring Nice St. James Island lately however had not but constructed something on it.
Many in St. Thomas are debating what must be executed with the constructions and even the islands themselves, though it’s unclear who would inherit them. Some folks in St. Thomas say the buildings on the smaller island must be become a college whereas others imagine the sweeping ocean views ought to serve one other objective.
“A hotel would be a nice thing,” mused Trevor Downes, a retiree from Oregon. “It would help the economy. They need work here.”
Taxi driver John Richards, who stated he was upset that Epstein is useless as a result of he wished the billionaire to face trial, feels there is just one applicable resolution for Epstein’s property: “I believe the victims should get part of the island.”