Evidence inconclusive on Otto Warmbier being tortured in North Korea: Coroner

28 September, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Evidence inconclusive on Otto Warmbier being tortured in North Korea: Coroner

North Korea previously blamed botulism and the ingestion of a sleeping pill for Mr Warmbier's condition, and dismissed torture claims.

In addition to the exam, the coroner reviewed medical records and spoke with his physicians at UC Medical Center.

Otto Warmbier's death on June 19 was due to an unknown injury that occurred more than a year before his death, according to Hamilton County Coroner's Office investigator John Hatfield and the coroner's report dated September 11.

His parents were never able to speak with him and learned that he would be returned home for medical reasons only shortly before it had been arranged.

He had been sentenced to 15 years hard labour after travelling in January 2016 and allegedly stealing a propaganda poster.

"Although we had no reason at all to show mercy to such a criminal of the enemy state, we provided him with medical treatments and care with all sincerity on a humanitarian basis until his return to the USA", the North argued after Warmbier's death.

An examination by the OH medical examiner's office said Warmbier's body appeared "well-nourished", with no physical abnormalities beyond some minor scars of indeterminate age, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

In a case like this, a full-scale autopsy would normally be carried out to provide more details on the cause of death, but at the request of the Warmbiers no autopsy was performed.


U.S. doctors has previously said there was no evidence of the botulism that North Korea had alluded to.

The parents of Otto Warmbier, the student who died after being held captive in North Korea, have broken their silence and branded the regime "terrorists".

Mr Warmbier's parents could not be reached for comment on the coroner's report.

Warmbier's manner of death remains undetermined. "They kidnapped Otto. They tortured him". Otto's body was described as "well-developed, well-nourished" and his teeth were reportedly in good condition. They said Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, was howling, making an "involuntary, inhuman sound", "staring blankly into space jerking violently", and was blind and deaf with his head shaved.

"They destroyed him", Cindy Warmbier said. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him, it looked like someone had taken pliers and tried to rearrange his bottom teeth.

The coroner's findings are consistent with remarks made by Cincinnati doctors in June, who found no evidence of trauma or fractures after examining Warmbier immediately after he arrived in the US.

North Korean officials have said Warmbier was released on humanitarian grounds and had been treated respectfully.

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