The University of Virginia student who was held in North Korea for nearly a year and a half died Monday after he was returned to his family in a coma. Otto Warmbier was 22-years-old.
“Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing,” President Donald J. Trump said. “There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him.
Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency. The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”
Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea from March 2016 to June 2017 after being convicted of “hostile acts” against the country. Warmbier, then 21 years old, confessed to stealing a political propaganda poster and was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor.
Warmbier fell into a coma in North Korea and was released in June 2017, after nearly 18 months in North Korea. According to North Korean authorities, Warmbier’s coma was a result of botulism and a sleeping pill, but U.S. physicians cast doubt on that claim.
Warmbier arrived in Cincinnati on June 13 and was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for immediate evaluation and treatment. He was diagnosed with “severe neurological injury.” His father believes that he was “terrorized and brutalized”.
Warmbier died just six days after his return to the United States.