Coroner: 'We don't know' what caused Otto Warmbier's brain damage

by Antonio Miles September 29, 2017, 0:36
Coroner: 'We don't know' what caused Otto Warmbier's brain damage

The coroner convened the session with reporters after Fred and Cindy Warmbier of Wyoming appeared on national television Tuesday to say their 22-year-old son had been tortured and "destroyed" in more than a year in North Korean custody.

President Trump tweeted following the interview, which was the first the parents had given since their son's death.

The report also said he died from an "unknown insult more than a year prior to death".

The report, which the Cincinnati Enquirer obtained Tuesday, said Otto Warmbier's teeth were "natural and in good repair" and that his nose and ears showed "no remarkable adjustment".

Otto was arrested in North Korea in 2016 on suspicion of trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel. Warmbier was released in June after 17 months in North Korean custody and died in a U.S. hospital a few days later.

UC Health doctors said in June that Warmbier was in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" and had suffered a "severe neurological injury" of uncertain cause. "They're terrorists. They kidnapped Otto, tortured him, they intentionally injured him". "We were surprised at (the parents') statement".

The University of Virginia student was held by North Korea from January 2016 until his release on June 15. "We believe that for somebody who had been bedridden for more than a year, that his body was in excellent condition, that his skin was in excellent condition", she said.

"The teeth are natural and in good fix", while his nose and ears show "no remarkable adjustment", according to the report.

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They added that Otto blind and deaf and that he was "jerking violently" on a stretcher on his return to the US.

According to the medical report, Warmbier died primarily from "complications of chronic anoxic/ischemic encephalopathy", meaning his brain was deprived of oxygen. On the coroner's report, Warmbier's manner of death is listed as "undetermined".

However, the coroner's report said Warmbier's teeth were "natural and in good fix". "We're never going to know, unless the people who were there come forward and say, 'This is what happened to Otto'".

"I felt very comfortable that there wasn't any evidence of trauma" to the teeth or jawbone, Sammarco said.

She said her office performed an external examination, went through extensive medical imaging and conducted a post-mortem CT scan of Otto's body.

"We're here to tell you North Korea is not a victim", said Warmbier's father, Fred.

Trump referenced Warmbier's death in comments critical of North Korea during his debut speech to the U.N. General Assembly earlier this month.

A forensic dentist examined the images, specifically the lower teeth and mandible, Sammarco said. Investigators only documented a few smalls scars to his body, and did not find evidence of any healing fractures that would have happened while he was in North Korea, Sammarco said.

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