CINCINNATI (AP) — A newly released coroner’s report couldn’t
determine what led to the fatal brain damage of a young Ohioan
detained for more than a year by North Korea, accused of
torturing him by his parents and President Donald Trump.
A Hamilton County coroner’s report dated Sept. 11 showed cause
of death for Otto Warmbier, 22, as complications of
brain-damaging oxygen deprivation through “an unknown insult
more than a year prior to death.” The medical term for his
condition was called “chronic anoxic/ischemic encephalopathy.”
Manner of death was listed as “undetermined.”
Warmbier’s parents told a Fox News TV show Tuesday that North
Korea tortured and “destroyed” the University of Virginia
student. Trump tweeted afterward: “Otto was tortured beyond
belief by North Korea.”
Trump’s tweet added to a series of recent accusations and
heated exchanges between his administration and North Korean
North Korea has denied mistreating Warmbier, sentenced to 15
years of hard labor in March 2016 for allegedly stealing a
propaganda poster two months earlier. He died in Cincinnati in
June 2017, less than week after his release.
His family declined an autopsy, so the coroner’s report relied
mainly on an external examination of his body. There were
multiple scars and bruises, some consistent with medical
treatment such as insertion of a breathing tube.
The examination by Hamilton County deputy coroner Dr. Gretel
Stephens found that his body appeared “well-nourished” and his
teeth in good repair.
The parents on Tuesday, for the first time, described publicly
in detail the condition his family found him in when they went
aboard an air ambulance that arrived June 13 in Cincinnati. His
father said he was making an “involuntary, inhuman sound,”
”staring blankly into space jerking violently,” and was blind
and deaf with his head shaved. He said his mouth “looked like
someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom
University of Cincinnati Health system doctors treating him in
June said Warmbier arrived in a state of “unresponsive
wakefulness” and had suffered a “severe neurological injury” of
His father and the Hamilton County coroner’s office didn’t
respond immediately Wednesday to requests for comments.
Follow Dan Sewell at http://twitter.com/dansewell