The family of former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier decided they did not want an autopsy performed after his death. Warmbier died Monday after 17 months of imprisonment in North Korea, but the circumstances surrounding his death remained murky.
The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office in Ohio said Tuesday that Warmbier’s family had decided to forgo an autopsy and instead opted for only an external examination. It remained unclear why the family decided not to have the autopsy.
“No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier’s death have been drawn at this time,” the medical examiner’s office said, according to NBC News. “There are additional medical records and imaging to review and people to interview.”
Warmbier, an American student, was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea in January 2016 after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster. The 22-year-old was returned to the U.S. last week in a condition described by doctors as “unresponsive wakefulness.” North Korean officials said Warmbier had contracted botulism and was given a sleeping pill and fell into a coma last April from which he never awoke. Upon his return to the United States, however, doctors said they found no evidence of botulism.
“He showed no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings,” Dr. Daniel Kanter, director of the neurocritical care unit at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said in a news conference last week.
Doctors noted that his brain injuries were severe, citing an MRI scan showing extensive tissue damage. The medical team also said it had been too long for Wambier to be considered to be in a coma and that he was apparently in stable condition with no signs…