Malaysia coroner finds no crime in Dutch model's fatal fall

Sankara Nair, lawyer for Ivana Smit's family, speaks to the press at Kuala Lumpur High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, March 8, 2019. A Malaysian coroner has ruled that there was no criminal involvement in the death of an 18-year-old Dutch model whose nude body was found after plunging from a condominium. Ivana Smit's body was found on the balcony of a sixth floor unit in a Kuala Lumpur condominium in December 2017. She was believed to have fallen from the 20th floor where she had spent the night with an American man and his Kazakhstan wife.(AP Photo/Yam G-Jun)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysian coroner ruled Friday there was no criminal involvement in the death of an 18-year-old Dutch model whose nude body was found after plunging from a condominium.

Ivana Smit's body was found on the balcony of a sixth-floor unit in a Kuala Lumpur condominium on Dec. 7, 2017. She was believed to have fallen from the 20th floor, where she had spent the night with an American man and his Kazakhstan wife.

The case drew widespread attention due to allegations of lurid sex and drug use.

Police initially ruled her death as suicide but an inquest was held last year after her family suspected she was murdered. Smit's body was flown back to the Netherlands, where a second autopsy found bruises on her arm, trauma on the back of her head as well as the DNA of the American man, Alex Johnson, under Smit's fingernails. Traces of drugs and alcohol were also found in Smit's body.

The Malaysian coroner, Mahyon Talib, agreed evidence showed there could have been some struggle between Smit and the couple but she said no one had caused her fatal fall and ruled it as a "misadventure."

Sankara Nair, a lawyer for the family, said they were disappointed by the coroner's finding and will challenge it in the High Court. Nair said evidence presented at the inquest — the bruises, neck trauma and the DNA findings of the Dutch autopsy — showed elements of homicide.

Smit lived in Malaysia with her grandparents since she was 3.

Johnson, a cryptocurrency trader, and his wife, Luna Almaz, were detained by police for questioning after Smit's death but were not charged. They left Malaysia in March last year after they were released.

In an interview with a British newspaper, the couple acknowledged partying with Smit the night before and having sex hours before she died but denied any wrongdoing. They refused to return to Malaysia to testify in the inquest.

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