Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student who flew home to Ohio while comatose and died in June after being detained in North Korea for 17 months, was reported to have died from lack of oxygen and blood to his brain, according to NPR.
The findings of the coroner conflict with the details given by Warmbier’s parents, according to the New York Times. Fred and Cindy Warmbier provided previously undisclosed information on the injuries to their son. One of which included that it “looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.”
“We’re here to tell you North Korea is not a victim… They’re terrorists. They kidnapped Otto, tortured him, they intentionally injured him.”
Otto Warmbier’s mother, Cindy, told Fox & Friends that they destroyed her son so much that she nearly passed out upon seeing him.
“They destroyed him… To see how he came home was too much for us. I almost passed out.”
Warmbier died only six days after returning home to Cincinnati, Ohio. While visiting North Korea in January of 2016, Otto Warmbier was seized from a tour group. Warmbier was promptly convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel in Pyongyang and had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea.
In their interview, Fred and Cindy Warmbier said when they first saw Otto, their son was “jerking violently” and made “inhuman sounds.”
“Halfway up the stairs, we hear this loud, guttural, howling, inhuman sound. We don’t know what it is… He’s strapped to the stretcher, and he’s moving around and jerking violently, making these howling, inhuman sounds.”
Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, Hamilton County Coroner, said that the “bottom line” and conclusion to these horrific events is that they cannot determine Otto Warmbier’s cause of death, according to CNN.
“We don’t know what happened to him, and this is the bottom line.”
Details of Otto Warmbier’s death was released this week. The coroner’s report adds, “the teeth are natural and in good repair.”
Dr. Sammarco addressed the conflicting reports said that her team evaluated Warmbier’s body, in addition to various scans of his body. The Hamilton County Coroner also included a forensic dentist.
“I felt very comfortable that there wasn’t any evidence of trauma” to the teeth or jawbone… We were surprised at (the parents’) statement.”
The report findings come from an external examination, not an autopsy and describe a 4.3-by-1.6-inch scar on Warmbier’s right foot. Otto Warmbier’s parents mentioned this scar (which they said looked to be a wound that had been open for several months) when they broke their three-month silence during an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.
“How do you get a scar that covers the entire top of your foot?… [The coroner] said it had to be an open wound for months and months and months.”
The report made by the coroner did not include this last detail of foot scaring. It only described some smaller scars. Also, the report did not contain details as to what caused the gruesome markings or how long they had been there.
Fred Warmbier told CNN that the family would not be commenting further.
One day after Cindy and Fred Warmbier’s interview, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman denied that Warmbier was tortured while in custody. The accusations were refuted according to a report by the country’s state-run news agency KCNA.
The coroner’s office said in a statement in June that Warmbier’s parents declined a full autopsy.
“The family’s objection to an autopsy was honored, and only an external examination was performed.”
When Otto Warmbier’s parents were asked why they refused an autopsy, they said that they wanted the traumatic ordeal to finally be put to rest, according to CNN.
“Otto and our family have been through enough. Enough… Otto is at peace, and it’s about time.”
[Featured Image by Kim Kwang Hyon/AP Images]