Dutch model's death ruled a misadventure by coroner

Dutch model Ivana Smit may have struggled before dying in December 2017.
Dutch model Ivana Smit may have struggled before dying in December 2017.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/IVANA_SMIT

KUALA LUMPUR • A Dutch model found dead after falling naked from an apartment in Kuala Lumpur may have been involved in a struggle before she died, a coroner said yesterday, but ruled no crime had been committed.

Ms Ivana Smit fell from the 20th floor condominium unit of an American man, and landed on a sixth-floor balcony in December 2017, after a night out.

The sensational death drew huge amounts of attention after lurid claims emerged that 18-year-old Ms Smit, the American and his Kazakh wife had consumed large quantities of drugs and alcohol, and had group sex.

Police initially said there was no foul play but the authorities agreed to an inquest after pressure from the family of Ms Smit, who had reportedly lived in Malaysia since she was a child.

Handing down her ruling, coroner Mahyon Talib acknowledged there may have been a struggle between Ms Smit and the couple, businessman Alex Johnson and his wife, Luna.

"Grip marks on her arm, the trauma at the back of her head, the broken bottles and... Alex's DNA under Ivana's nails suggest that there might have been a possibility that there was a struggle," she said.

The couple are reported to have left Malaysia.


The coroner also agreed with a Dutch pathologist, who had concluded that Ms Smit died before her body was found on the sixth-floor balcony. But she ruled that no one was criminally involved in causing the model's death.

"We cannot know what actually happened between the three of them," the coroner said, adding that the death was classified as a "misadventure", meaning it was likely an accident.

Lawyer S. N. Nair, representing Ms Smit's family, criticised the ruling, questioning how the coroner had accepted that Ms Smit was likely killed in the apartment and then concluded the death was a "misadventure".

"How is it that her body was eventually found at the bottom of the condominium - surely a dead body can't walk over and take a dive? Somebody threw her body down," he told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur court.

"I am not satisfied with the verdict."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2019, with the headline 'Dutch model's death ruled a misadventure by coroner'. Print Edition | Subscribe