Otto Warmbier, the American student who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, died from lack of oxygen and blood to the brain, according to an Ohio coroner’s report released on Wednesday and quoted by Reuters.
Warmbier’s death on June 19 was due to an unknown injury that occurred more than a year before his death, according to Hamilton County Coroner’s Office investigator John Hatfield and the coroner’s report dated September 11.
The University of Virginia student was arrested by North Korean officials last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, after he was charged with trying to take a propaganda banner from an area reserved for North Korean staff and forbidden to foreigners at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, where he was staying as part of a New Year’s tour group.
He was released on June 15 and returned to the United States in a coma.
Both the investigator and the coroner’s report cited complications of chronic deficiency of oxygen and blood supply to the brain in Warmbier’s death. Only an external examination of the body rather than a full autopsy was completed at the request of Warmbier’s family.
North Korea previously blamed botulism and the ingestion of a sleeping pill for Otto Warmbier’s problems, and it dismissed torture claims, noted Reuters.
Warmbier’s parents appeared on Fox News on Tuesday, calling North Korea “terrorists” who tortured their son.
Warmbier’s parents could not be reached for comment on the coroner’s report.