Otto Warmbier

What ‘destroyed’ Otto Warmbier? Coroner’s report only deepens mystery

CINCINNATI — The Hamilton County coroner examining Otto Warmbier found he had a collection of small scars on his body, but none appear serious enough to indicate he was tortured while he was imprisoned in North Korea.

The coroner’s report, which The Cincinnati Enquirerobtained Tuesday, only deepened the mystery of what happened to the 22-year-old University of Virginia student, who died six days after he returned to Cincinnati after being imprisoned for 17 months by the North Korean government.

Warmbier was evacuated from that reclusive dictatorship — in a coma — on June 13. Warmbier’s mother and sister ran off the plane when they first saw him lying on a stretcher at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Otto’s father, Fred Warmbier, said in an interview on Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning.

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“Otto was jerking violently, making these inhuman sounds,” said Fred Warmbier.

“Otto had a shaved head. He had a feeding tube coming out of his nose.  … He was blind, he was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him, it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and re-arranged his bottom teeth.”

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, of suburan Wyoming, Ohio, said they decided to speak out now because they feel that North Korea is being painted as a victim in global politics right now.

“North Korea is not a victim. They are terrorists,” Fred Warmbier said.

Fred Warmbier said he and his wife were astounded to learn that North Korea is not listed as a state sponsor of terror.

“We owe it to the world to list North Korea as a state sponsor of terror.”

“They destroyed him,” said Cindy Warmbier.

“The fact that Otto was alone all that time was inexcusable.”

Hundreds paid tribute to Otto Warmbier, who died Monday afternoon, at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio. Warmbier had been imprisoned in North Korea since Jan. 2016, when he was 22. He returned last week to his family in a coma. Carrie Cochran

Otto Warmbier went to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based tour company. He was arrested Jan. 2, 2016, in Pyongyang, the nation’s capital.

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He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a poster from a staff-only section of a hotel in North Korea. In a televised statement in March 2016, Otto apologized and said he was impressed by the country’s “fair and square legal procedures” and its “humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like myself.”

After Warmbier returned to Cincinnati, doctors said he did not have any broken bones or marks on his body other than those which indicated medical treatment.

 

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