Ohio's Hamilton County coroner, who conducted an external examination on the late Otto Warmbier, said that there were no obvious signs of torture present with regard to Warmbier's body — a claim that seems to contradict statements made by Warmbier's parents.
What did the Warmbier family say?
Fred and Cindy Warmbier spoke with "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday where they detailed the gruesome nature of Otto's condition when he was returned to the U.S. from North Korea after spending over a year in a detention center.
The Warmbiers also spoke with CNN's Brooke Baldwin, where they revealed more details about their son's condition after he was released to come home.
Otto Warmbier was jailed after reportedly attempting to steal North Korean propaganda poster and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. After spending just a year incarcerated, he was returned to Ohio in the U.S. by North Korea in June. He passed away just days later.
Fred and Cindy made the following claims about their son:
- When they first saw their son, Otto was making "inhuman noises," which they described as "howling, involuntary, inhuman" sounds, and was "jerking violently."
- Otto had a shaved head and a feeding tube coming out of his nose.
- Otto was blind and deaf.
- It appeared that someone had "taken a pair of pliers and rearranged [Otto’s] bottom teeth."
- It was noted that Otto had a large scar on his right foot, of which Cindy asked, "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."
What did the coroner say?
Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco discussed Otto's medical exam during a news conference on Wednesday, a day after Otto's parents described their son's condition on television.
Sammarco's report did not include any information about the reported injury — and scar — on Otto's foot, and stated that she found no obvious signs of torture. She added that she and her team — which included a forensic dentist — "felt very comfortable" that there "wasn't any evidence of trauma" to Otto's jawbone or teeth, despite his parents saying otherwise.
Sammarco said that she "felt very comfortable that there wasn't any evidence of trauma" to the teeth or jawbone.
"We were surprised at [the Warmbiers'] statement," Sammarco said.
Sammarco determined that Otto's cause of death was an "unknown insult more than a year prior to death" as well as complications of his brain injury, and his manner of death is "undetermined."
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