Coroner's Report Deepens Otto Warmbier Mystery

Body did not show signs of extensive torture
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2017 4:19 AM CDT
Updated Sep 27, 2017 6:21 AM CDT
Coroner's Report Deepens Otto Warmbier Mystery
Supporters stage a memorial rally for the late American student Otto Warmbier near the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on June 23, 2017.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Something terrible clearly happened to Otto Warmbier while the American student was in North Korean custody—but an Ohio coroner found nothing to back up accounts that he was severely tortured. In a coroner's report seen by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Hamilton County medical officials say the 22-year-old's teeth are "natural and in good repair," contrary to father Fred Warmbier's statement that when North Korea returned his son to the US in June, it "looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth." Warmbier died just six days after he arrived back in Cincinnati.

According to the coroner's report, Warmbier died from brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen after an unknown injury more than a year before his death. President Trump said he was "tortured beyond belief," though the coroner's report states that newer scars on the "well-developed, well-nourished" young man's body may have been caused by medical treatment, including one that appears to have been made by a cut to insert a breathing tube. The BBC reports that coroners were only able to examine the outside of the body because Warmbier's parents, who said he made "inhuman noises" after returning to the US in a coma, decided against an autopsy. Mother Cindy Warmbier said she "wasn't going to let him out of my sight"—and she felt he had been through enough already. (More Otto Warmbier stories.)

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