Otto Warmbier Is Dead, Family Says

Statement says he died Monday afternoon
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2017 3:56 PM CDT
In this Feb. 29, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

(Newser) – Otto Warmbier, the US student detained in North Korea and recently freed after almost a year and a half, died Monday afternoon, his family says in a statement obtained by the Washington Post. Warmbier returned to the US in a coma and never awoke; in the statement, his family says "the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today." Doctors had described Warmbier as being in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" after having experienced a "severe neurological injury."

"When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands," the statement reads. "He looked very uncomfortable—almost anguished. Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed—he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that." The family thanks everyone who kept Warmbier in their thoughts, and the "University of Cincinnati Medical Center who did everything they could for Otto." (Read more Otto Warmbier stories.)

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