Carolyn Andriano, a victim of sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein whose testimony was crucial to putting away his accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, has died.
Her death went unreported in the media until now.
There was no obituary or funeral service after she died earlier this year, and police in West Palm Beach, Florida, opened an investigation into her death. After The Daily Beast reached out for comment, police spokesman Mike Jachles told us that the investigation was concluding and that Carolyn died of an accidental overdose.
The 36-year-old mother-of-five had planned to start a new chapter in North Carolina, at a new house with a fireplace and half-acre lot with a chicken coop. Carolyn and her husband, John Pitts, had purchased the property just weeks before she was found unresponsive in a West Palm Beach hotel room on May 23.
Before her death, “she was ecstatic,” Carolyn’s mother, Dorothy Groenert, told The Daily Beast. “She was all set up for a whole new lifestyle.”
Groenert says Carolyn’s death was a shock because she was working on building a new life and recently texted her about being free of drugs and alcohol.
The way Groenert sees it, some things about her daughter’s overdose don’t make sense, and she wants cops to investigate further.
Jachles, however, said that Carolyn’s case would officially be closed this week. Officers on the scene took a statement from Pitts, who told them that Carolyn had been using drugs, and Carolyn’s brother, who rushed to the hotel after Pitts texted Groenert that Carolyn had died. Pitts tried to administer CPR and “was given directions over the phone with 911,” Jachles said.
“It shouldn’t be closed,” Groenert said of the police investigation. “I begged them, I sent them numerous messages. I’ve asked for them to make meetings, contact me, and to no avail.”
Now Groenert is in a legal battle with Pitts over Carolyn’s will, which was filed in 2010 before she married him and which left her estate to her mother and two oldest children. Because the will hadn’t been updated, Pitts and his three kids with Carolyn were left out of her estate. Carolyn had received millions from Epstein-related settlements, though probate court documents indicate she had $183,000 in a bank account. The filings also listed unknown assets as the JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank class action settlements—which, as The Daily Beast reported, amount to $290 million and $75 million, respectively, and will result in big payouts to victims.
Since Carolyn’s death, he’s posted tributes to her on Facebook and mourned his family’s loss.
“You showed me what love really is and I will never forget how big your heart is,” Pitts wrote in June, adding, “I know our souls will always be attached together.”
“I will do right by you because I know what u really wanted in life to give our kids the life we never had… I miss u so much no words can say just know I will give our kids the best life that I can…”
While Pitts could not be reached, his sister Serena told The Daily Beast that Groenert’s and her family’s suggestion that Carolyn’s death was suspicious is “ridiculous.”
“Right now our family is grieving the loss of Carolyn and prioritizing the care of her children. At this time we kindly appreciate space and privacy,” she added in a text.
The Daily Beast has submitted requests for information to both the medical examiner and police department. While a cause or manner of death hasn’t been released, a toxicology report indicates Carolyn had methadone, fentanyl, and alprazolam (the generic name for Xanax) in her system when she died.
Lewis Nelson, professor and chair of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s Department of Emergency Medicine and Director of the Division of Medical Toxicology, said alprazolam and fentanyl can be a dangerous combination, as both drugs suppress breathing.
“Her fentanyl use was very recent,” said Nelson, who is not involved in Carolyn’s case but independently reviewed her toxicology report. “My postulation is she is on methadone, takes a high dose, she took fentanyl, and she died quickly.” The low levels of a metabolite of fentanyl, Nelson added, suggest that Carolyn died before her body had time to metabolize the drug. Bloodwork, however, doesn’t usually paint a picture of how often someone uses a substance.
Carolyn was one of four victims to testify at the Maxwell trial in December 2021, telling the jury that the British socialite had groped her and routinely scheduled her “massages” with Epstein, who molested her up to three times until she was “too old” for him at age 18.
At the start, a Manhattan federal prosecutor asked Carolyn if she’d ever been addicted to drugs, and she replied, “Pain pills and cocaine.” Carolyn also testified about her home life when she was 14 and had first visited Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion in 2001. “I was allowed to do whatever I wanted,” she said, adding, “Because my mom was an alcoholic and a drug addict.” (Asked about Carolyn’s testimony, Groenert denied this. “No, I was working. I was working to pay for my children. I didn’t get any supplements. I had to work,” she said. “That’s inaccurate.”)
Carolyn, who said she dropped out in seventh grade and never returned to school, later testified that she became addicted to drugs while visiting Epstein’s lair: “Marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, anything that could block out for me to go to the appointment.”
She had confided in Maxwell and Epstein about her history of being sexually abused as a young child (by a relative at age 4) and of her family’s struggles with addiction. This emboldened the sick high-society couple to groom her and even attempt to bring her to Epstein’s U.S. Virgin Islands compound. “I told him I was only 15 and I couldn’t leave,” Carolyn said of Epstein.
The prosecutor also asked Carolyn about her medications, and she answered that she took methadone, an antidepressant, Xanax, and a drug for schizophrenia because “I am scared that my kids are going to get kidnapped.”
When Maxwell’s lawyer cross-examined Carolyn, he noted the Epstein victim compensation fund awarded her $3.25 million but had subtracted $446,000 because she’d received that amount in 2009 from a lawsuit against Epstein and his assistant Sarah Kellen.
“Yes, but no money will ever fix what’s happened to me,” Carolyn responded.
Carolyn testified using only her first name but came forward to the Daily Mail after Maxwell’s conviction. During this interview, she spoke of Pitts’ support.
“I had rosary beads in my hands for the entire time and my husband was in the courtroom and every time I felt like I was getting weak, he would give me a little thumbs up or I’d clench the beads,” Carolyn told the tabloid. “I was determined to have the strength to have this woman put away for what she did to me and other young women.”
“Sure, they accused me of lying, but I knew that was coming and I stood up to it because I was telling the God’s honest truth.”
At another point in the interview, Carolyn suggested that Virginia Giuffre, a victim who allegedly recruited her into Epstein’s sex ring, deserved to face similar consequences as Maxwell because, she claimed, Giuffre “trafficked me into a world of spiraling downward slopes and it has taken my husband John 12 long years to get me to love myself again.”
“I’m very happy being a wife and a mother and I want to show people how the tragedies in my life did not stop me,” she added. “I’m overcoming them. I’m not going to let Maxwell and Epstein ruin my life anymore. I’m grateful every day when I wake up.”
Questions: Why was there no funeral and no obituary? Why is her sister-in-law so sure there is nothing suspicious about this death?
These two facts make it VERY suspicious to me. — TPR