KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian authorities have said they will not release the body of Kim Jong Nam, the alleged assassinated half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, without a DNA sample from a family member.
“We need a DNA sample of a family member to match the profile of the dead person,” the police chief was quoted as saying.
“North Korea has submitted a request to claim the body, but before we release the body we have to identify who the body belongs to,” he added.
An autopsy was conducted on the body despite efforts by North Korean diplomats to stop the procedure but the results have not yet been released.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters on Thursday “after all the police and medical procedures are completed we may release the body to the next of kin through the embassy."
The murder is widely blamed on Kim Jong Un’s regime in Pyongyang, although local officials have said it is still too early to conclude that foreign agents killed Kim Jong Nam and that the investigation was underway.
Kim was killed on Monday in an apparent poisoning attack by two women at the international airport in Kuala Lumpur.
According to reports, one of the women distracted Kim while the other came up behind him, put him in choke hold and administered the chemical poison - the entire encounter reportedly took just five seconds.
Three people — a Vietnamese woman, an Indonesian woman and the latter’s Malaysian boyfriend — have so far been arrested in connection with the assassination.
One of the women was reportedly paid just $100 to carry out the attack which she believed was a prank.
The woman was approached at a nightclub where she worked.
Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who serves as chairman of the House's subcommittee on terrorism and trade, told Radio Free Asia, the isolated nation should be relisted to the U.S. terrorism sponsor list if it is behind the killing.
North Korea, which was on the list for the 1987 mid-air bombing of a Korean Airlines flight that killed all 115 people aboard, was removed in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush in exchange for progress in denuclearization talks.