Coroner says teen Dutch model was dead before she fell from 20th floor of Malaysian highrise, but rules out murder
The ruling of coroner Mahyon Talib was slammed by the family and lawyer of Ivana Smit, who was found dead in Kuala Lumpur in December 2017
An 18-year-old Dutch model who fell from the 20th floor apartment of a Kuala Lumpur highrise in December 2017 was dead before she fell, according to a ruling by a Malaysian coroner.
We previously reported that the naked body of Ivana Smit, who had an upcoming role on Belgium's Next Top Model at the time of her death, was found dead and naked on the sixth floor of the up-market apartment building on December 7, 2017.
Police were quick to rule the incident as "sudden death," meaning it was either the result of an accident or suicide.
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However, her family believed that 45-year-old Alexander Johnson and his wife, 31-year-old Luna Almaz, were responsible for the teen's death. The American couple was the last to see Smit alive, with footage captured at a nightclub at around 5:22 am that morning showing Johnson carrying the 18-year-old in his arms through a hallway.
Furthermore, at 7:30 am, Smit sent her boyfriend a selfie of herself with Almaz, who admitted that the couple had sex with the teen on the morning of her death.
The pair fled the country shortly after, with Smit's family and their lawyer slamming the local police investigation which ruled her death as accidental.
An inquest was subsequently opened into the death in 2018, according to the Daily Mail.
However, it appears the ruling of Coroner Mahyon Talib doesn't support their assertion that Smit was murdered either, despite it reaffirming the conclusion of a Dutch pathologist who previously stated there was evidence of a struggle before her death.
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"Grip marks on her arm, the trauma at the back of her head, the broken bottles and (American man) Alex's DNA under Ivana's nails suggest that there might have been a possibility that there was a struggle," Talib said.
However, she ruled out criminal involvement in the death. "'We cannot know what actually happened between the three of them," she wrote, adding that the death would be classified as a "misadventure."
The ruling was not taken well by Smit's family, with a lawyer telling reporters, "Surely a dead body can't walk over and take a dive? Somebody threw her body down."
It was a view shared by Smit's father, Marcel, who said he had seen bruises on the 18-year-old's neck "like fingerprints as if someone had grabbed her there" when he was called to identify her body.
"At about 10 am she would have fallen from the balcony at 20 floors high. How is that possible?" he was quoted telling Dutch media.
"It is strange that she was not found until 3 pm. She is tall, 1.81 meters (5ft 11in), but the barrier is also 1.20 meters (4ft). Only when you bend over, do you fall off. She did not fall and did not jump either."