Otto Warmbier Dies Days After Release From North Korea


"I just wanted to pass on word that Otto Warmbier has just passed away".

Warmbier was arrested on January 2, 2016, for allegedly stealing a propaganda sign from a staff-only floor of the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang with a group of other foreigners.

On Monday, his parents announced in a statement that he died at 2:20 p.m. saying, "It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home".

The statement also mentioned that he had been unable to speak, react to verbal commands or see.

The college student said he accepted the offer because his family was "suffering from very severe financial difficulties".

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"Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed - he was at peace", the statement continued.

They believe respiratory arrest led to his condition, which is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain.

The State Department "strongly warns" United States citizens not to travel to North Korea, explaining it has no diplomatic relations with the country, that 16 USA citizens have been detained there in the last 10 years and that even if the government allows a traveler to bring in a cell phone, he or she will have to use a North Korean carrier, which will allow the government to monitor calls.

His family said they were told by North Korea through US government officials that he had been in a coma for more than a year, though they only learned about that condition last week.

The family said they were choosing to focus on the time they were given with their "warm, engaging, brilliant" son instead of focusing on what they had lost. Three other American citizens remain imprisoned. Doctors said he returned with severe brain damage, but it wasn't clear what caused it. American doctors found no evidence of the disease. At a news conference this week, University of Cincinnati doctors examined him.

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In a White House statement, Trump said, "A lot of bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents". He was put before North Korean officials and journalists for a televised "confession".

Fred Warmbier praised his son's "performance" and Mr Trump's administration. As a traveler, he fell in love with the people and culture of North Korea, he says. Portman added that the Warmbiers have "had to endure more than any family should have to bear". The American student was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. The North Korean government claimed he'd taken a political poster from the hotel where he stayed. The tours offer themes ranging from politics to biking along the DMZ demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to scuba diving.

Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have previously visited North Korea in the past to negotiate the release of prisoners.

"The accused confessed to the serious offense against the DPRK he had committed, pursuant to the USA government's hostile policy toward it, in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist", the state-controlled KCNA news agency said.

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