Model’s death ruled as misadventure

Dutch model Ivana Smit. (Instagram pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Coroner’s Court today ruled Ivana Smit’s death as a misadventure, which implies that the Dutch model died two years ago in an accident due to voluntary risk.

Coroner Mahyon Talib, in reading her written judgment, said no one was involved in Smit’s death.

“That is why the court has classified this case as a misadventure.”

Mahyon said she was of the opinion that Smit died between 6.50am and 2pm on Dec 7, 2017, and that her injuries were consistent with a fall from a height.

“I agree with Dr Frank that death occurred before the body was found on the balcony of the sixth-floor unit,” she said, referring to Dr Frank van de Goot of the Netherlands.

She said rigor mortis took place at around 10am or 11am that day.

She also said the bruises on Smit’s arms and the back of her neck, the presence of broken glass bottles in the 20th-floor unit, and the DNA of Alex Johnson found under Smit’s fingernails, suggested the possibility of foul play.

“We can’t find out what really happened between the three of them – Alex, Luna and Ivana – so the court is ruling the death as misadventure.”

The verdict was based on these facts and according to provisions in Act 593 of the Criminal Procedure Code. No criminal elements were found in how Smit died.

Lawyer SN Nair, who held a watching brief for Smit’s family during the inquest into her death, said he would have preferred a ruling of homicide or murder, but that misadventure was better than suicide or an open verdict.

He told FMT that today’s decision was the “next best” as the coroner had agreed that Smit died in the apartment, and that the bottles of apple cider purchased by the trio the night before might have been laced with drugs.

He added however that Mahyon could not say who did it or how Smit’s body ended up on the balcony of the sixth-floor condo unit.

He said he would seek instruction from his client on whether to seek a revision of the ruling.

Also present in court today was Karin Mossenlechner, the Netherlands ambassador to Malaysia, and Gerard van Heerwaarde, the Netherlands police liaison for Malaysia and the region.

Smit, 18, was found sprawled in the nude on the balcony of a sixth-floor unit at the CapSquare Residence condominium off Jalan Dang Wangi here.

She is believed to have fallen from a unit on the 20th floor where she had been staying with Johnson and his wife, Luna Almaz.

The duo claimed to have had sex with Smit prior to her death but have maintained their innocence, saying the model died due to her own “youthful recklessness”.

They are believed to have left the country and could not be subpoenaed for the inquest.

Police originally classified the case as sudden death. However, an inquest was called after Smit’s family claimed there were elements of foul play and a cover-up.

Smit’s uncle, Fred Agenjo Weinhold, said he was curious as to why Mahyon did not rule how the model’s body came to be on the balcony of the sixth-floor unit.

Speaking to FMT from the Netherlands, he said his family would appeal the ruling after speaking with Nair.

He said he hoped this would assist the ongoing Dutch investigations into Smit’s death.

In a statement to FMT later, Nair also questioned the coroner’s verdict, calling it “unambiguous and contradicting”.

“She should have asked and considered the gaping question in everyone’s minds: how it is that her body was eventually found at the bottom of the condominium.

“Surely a dead body can’t walk over and take a dive,” he said.