PETALING JAYA: The uncle of Ivana Smit, who died two years ago at a condominium in Kuala Lumpur city centre, said his family will continue fighting for justice, amid threats by a couple to sue the family for defamation.
Fred Agenjo Weinhold was referring to Alex Johnson and Luna Almaz’s recent remarks in an interview where they said the Dutch model’s family had wrongly accused them of being implicated in her death.
“We are not intimidated by their threat,” said Fred. “The entire story they concocted is utterly unbelievable and we will keep on pointing that out until justice is served.
“There are more holes in their story now,” he told FMT. “And we will keep on hunting for justice for Ivana until our final breath.”
The Johnsons hosted Smit, then 18, at their 20th-floor unit at CapSquare Residence, off Jalan Dang Wangi, in Kuala Lumpur, on Dec 7, 2017. Smit was found in the nude, dead, later that day on a sixth-floor balcony.
Almaz and Johnson were the last to see Smit alive. They were clubbing and had sex with Smit prior to her death. Almaz claimed she was intimate with Smit on the morning of Dec 7.
Both have maintained innocence.
In a recent interview with Dutch newspaper AD.nl, Almaz insisted that Smit had climbed over the edge of their balcony. Johnson said this was likely due to the “cocktail” of drugs in her blood system that day.
It was reported that there were traces of cocaine, cannabis, alcohol and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) in Smit’s system, the combined effect of which could have knocked her out.
The couple, now based in the US, said there was no proof for the Smit family’s constant accusations that they had caused Smit’s untimely death. They threatened to file a suit for defamation unless the accusations stopped.
The interview, which was their first since going into hiding 18 months ago, also attempted to piece together unanswered questions from Smit’s inquest and from the family about Smit’s death.
But Fred said the couple had not done a good job at clarifying things. For a start, he said even if it was true that the Johnsons were fast asleep when Smit died on Dec 7, as they claimed, they “should have known better”.
“If you take a highly-intoxicated girl into your house, you have a responsibility for her well-being,” he said, adding that the PMMA molecules in Smit’s body did not start breaking down prior to dying.
This, he claimed, implied that it was taken or administered a few hours before she died, at the most. “This suggests she got the drugs in that apartment but there’s not a word about that in the Johnsons’ interview,” he said.
The couple have denied drugging Smit. Almaz said she had sex with Smit in the morning, went to sleep with Johnson and woke up around 1.30pm. She said Smit was not in the unit and she thought she had gone out for an interview.
Fred said this was “highly unbelievable” as Almaz herself noted that Smit’s boots were still in the condo. Almaz also said Smit might have borrowed some of her clothes, since Smit’s clothes were left behind. But Fred said Smit wore size 41 shoes while Almaz’s size was 34.
Fred also rubbished Almaz’s claim that Smit had gone out on their balcony or outside of the unit in the nude. “Ivana was highly self-conscious about her small breasts. She would never go out on the balcony naked in the middle of the day,” he said.
On Almaz’s claim that the TV was turned on and they could not hear the police knocking on their door after Smit’s body was found, Fred said it did not explain why broken bottles were found at the scene.
Witnesses in the inquest into Smit’s death last year testified hearing a bottle crash after police tried to enter the 20th-floor unit shortly after Smit’s body was found. Fred claimed the bottles could have been laced with drugs.
Fred also said Dutch pathologist Dr Frank van der Goot had said that the wounds sustained by Smit’s fall did not bruise, which should have been the case if she was still alive. His testimony was used in Smit’s inquest.
“How did Ivana sustain the bruises on her head and arms?” Fred asked. “Injury dating puts it around a half hour before her death. Who else would have done that in their condo if they were ‘sleeping’?” he asked.
Fred said a drug test the couple had taken when they were arrested by police was positive and that Almaz was “clearly under the influence” in a selfie sent to Smit’s boyfriend on the morning of Dec 7.
“How come the re-test was suddenly negative?” he asked. “We all know the answer. They bought their way out, like they bought their way out of murder charges,” he alleged.
The Johnsons said while their first urine test showed positive for drugs, the second blood test showed negative. Johnson had said he and his wife did not use drugs at the time and were only drinking.
They had also denied bribing the police here with Bitcoin as has been claimed by the family. Johnson, who is a cryptocurrency trader, said: “A Bitcoin transaction is complicated. Do you think the police officers there (in Malaysia) know how that works at all?”
After her inquest concluded, the Kuala Lumpur Coroner’s Court ruled this year that Smit’s death was a misadventure, which implied that her death was an accident.
Coroner Mahyon Talib, in her written judgment, said no one was involved in Smit’s death, although she said she accepted, in theory, that there was the possibility of foul play, given Johnson’s DNA under Smit’s fingernails, among others.
The Johnsons said the DNA would be present as they had sex with Smit.
The family has applied for a revision of the coroner’s ruling into her death.