U.S. student freed from North Korea dies

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CINCINNATI (KAKE) -

The U.S. student recently freed from North Korea has died.   Otto Warmbier's family made the announcement through a statement released by an Ohio hospital.

Warmbier, 22, was returned to the U.S. in a coma after being held in prison in North Korea.  He was sentenced to 15 years for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster.   The North Korean government blamed Warmbier's condition on botulism.   His family claims he was tortured during his 18 months in captivity.  

It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home.  Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.

It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost — future time that won’t be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds. But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person.  You can tell from the outpouring of emotion from the communities that he touched — Wyoming, Ohio and the University of Virginia to name just two — that the love for Otto went well beyond his immediate family.

We would like to thank the wonderful professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who did everything they could for Otto. Unfortunately, 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.

When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands. 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.

We thank everyone around the world who has kept him and our family in their thoughts and prayers.   We are at peace and at home too.

Fred & Cindy Warmbier and Family

President Donald Trump is calling North Korea a "brutal regime" following the death of American college student Otto Warmbier.

   President Trump says, "Lot of bad things happened but at least we got him home to be with his parents."

   Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.
 

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