- The coroner’s office in Sedgwick County, Kansas, on Wednesday released its autopsy report on famed hacker Adrian Lamo, who died in March at the age of 37.
- The office was unable to determine Lamo’s cause of death.
- Lamo, best known for turning in Chelsea Manning, had numerous drugs in his system when he died, but it was unclear if they caused his death.
The cause of death of Adrian Lamo, the hacker best known for reporting Chelsea Manning’s theft of secret documents to the government, remains a mystery.
On Wednesday, the Regional Forensic Science Center in Sedgwick County, Kansas, where Lamo died, released its autopsy report on Lamo with the finding that his cause and manner of death were “undetermined.”
“Despite a complete autopsy and supplemental testing, no definitive cause of death was identified,” Scott Kipper, the county’s deputy coroner-medical examiner said in his report. He continued: “As the cause of death cannot be definitely determined, the manner of death is best classified as undetermined.”
Several different conditions potentially could have led to Lamo’s death, according to the report. He was suffering from kidney failure for one, although the cause of that was unclear. He also reportedly had a history of seizures, including grand mal and petite mal seizures, and one of those potentially could have caused or contributed to his death.
Additionally, the forensic center found evidence of multiple drugs in Lamo’s system including an “esoteric” substance called flubromazepam. Again, it was unclear whether any of those caused his death.
“The concentrations of these drugs likely did not cause or contribute to death, however, the fatal ranges of some of these more esoteric drugs is not well established [or] described,” Kipper said in the report. “It should also be noted that the esoteric nature of some of these drugs suggest the possibility that other rare drugs not tested for may have been used [or] abused.”
Lamo gained fame for hacking Yahoo
A Sedgwick County spokeswoman confirmed the report’s finding.
Lamo’s father, Mario Lamo, did not respond to a Facebook message asking for comment on the report.
Lamo died in March at the age of 37. He gained prominence in the early 2000s after he hacked into several top websites, including Yahoo and The New York Times. He was sentenced to six months of home detention after pleading guilty to the Times’ hack.
In 2010, he was befriended online by Chelsea Manning, then working in Army intelligence. Manning disclosed to Lamo that she had gained access and leaked to Wikileaks hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and a video of US Army soldiers in a military helicopter indiscriminately gunning down journalists and Iraqi civilians.
Lamo informed government investigators that Chelsea Manning was the source of the leaks, a move that led to her arrest, conviction, and imprisonment. His role in the affair was harshly criticised in some quarters because he informed on Manning after promising her confidentiality.