Family declines autopsy for former North Korea detainee Otto Warmbier

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office in Ohio confirmed that it received and examined the 22-year-old’s body after his death on Monday

Otto Warmbier
FILE - In this Feb. 29, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea. More than 15 months after he gave a staged confession in North Korea, he is with his Ohio family again. But whether he is even aware of that is uncertain. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

WYOMING, Ohio (AP) – The family of American college student Otto Warmbier objected to an autopsy, leaving the former North Korea detainee’s official cause of death a mystery for the time being.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office in Ohio confirmed that it received and examined the 22-year-old’s body after his death on Monday.
The Warmbier family’s “objection to an autopsy was honored,” the office said, and only an external examination was performed.

The coroner’s office reviewed medical records from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and the air ambulance service that helped bring Warmbier from Pyongyang to Cincinnati after 17 months. “Extensive” conversations with his treating physician took place, too.

“No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier’s death have been drawn at this time as there are additional medical records and imaging to review and people to interview,” the statement said.

His death led to strong condemnations of the regime and speculation about the implications. Politicians renewed calls for the regime to release three US citizens being held in the country.

Warmbier visited North Korea in January 2016 on a sightseeing tour. He was arrested for allegedly stealing a political sign from a restricted area and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

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