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How did hacker Adrian Lamo die? Medical examiner couldnt figure it out

EnlargeAdrian Lamo

Forensic pathologists in Kansas who examined the body of the late Adrian Lamo, the hacker who famously turned in Chelsea Manning to military authorities back in 2010, have been unable to figure out what led to his death.

In 2004, Lamo pleaded guilty to hacking The New York Times, among other entities. He was sentenced to two years probation and six months house arrest.

According to a newly released autopsy report, Lamos cause of death was described as "undetermined." The document was obtained and first published Thursday by Matthew Keys, an independent journalist based in California, who shared it with Ars. On Thursday, the Wichita Eagle also described and quoted from the autopsy report.

The 10-page report notes that Lamo, 37, was "last known to be alive around" March 7, 2018 but was found "unresponsive" in his Wichita apartment "in a state of early postmortem decomposition."

The autopsy also noted that Adrian Lamo had a history of seizures, and one "causing or contributing to death cannot be ruled out."

In addition, according to the report, Lamo was found with "multiple drugs" in his system, including "esoteric drugs such as flubromazepam… It should also be noted that the esoteric nature of some of these drugs suggests the possibility that other rare drugs not tested for may have been used/abused."

Lamo lived at 4925 E. Shadybrook in Wichita, described online as a "senior low-income housing apartment subsidized by the federal government."

Curiously, Lamo was found to have a sticker underneath his clothes and attached to his skin, which read: "Adrian Lamo Project Vigilant Assistant Director Threat Analysis/Investigation 70 Bates Street Northwest Washington DC 20001."

Project Vigilant is a now-defunct organization that, back in 2010, was described as a "semi-secret government contractor." Ars has reached out to Chet Uber and Steven Ruhe, two people known to be part of the group, who did not immediately respond.

Mark Rasch, a former Department of Justice prosecutor now in private practice in Maryland, who previously served as Project Vigilant's general counsel several years ago, told Ars that he knew "nothing at all about the circumstances" of Lamos death.

"I dont think Project Vigilant is a viable concern," he said, explaining that it ended "a year ago." He added that he had "no idea" why Lamo would have a Project Vigilant sticker on his body and noted that it had been "years" since the two men last spoke.

Mario Lamo, Adrians father, also did not immediately respond to Ars request for comment.

In April 2018, Mario Lamo wrote on Facebook that his son would be buried "at a church in Bogotá, Colombia, near the crypt of his paternal grandparents" and invited mourners to donate to "funeral arrangements and burial" costs.

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