Otto Warmbier dies six days after being freed from North Korea - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Otto Warmbier dies six days after being freed from North Korea

WASHINGTON – The American college student who was held in North Korea for 17 months before being sent home comatose six days ago died Monday afternoon, his family said.

“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 2:20 p.m. [EDT],” his family said in a statement.

The family thanked the staff 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.”

Warmbie, 22, was arrested on Jan. 2, 2016, at the airport in Pyongyang. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after being convicted of stealing a propaganda poster in his hotel. His fellow adventure travelers disputed the government’s account of events. Warmbier sobbed at his trial and pleaded for mercy.

The North Korean government blamed Warmbier’s condition on botulism, but U.S. doctors said they found no evidence of the illness. Doctors said Warmbier had lost significant brain tissue and speculated that he had a heart attack that deprived his brain of oxygen.

Warmbier’s departure from North Korea coincided with former NBA player Dennis Rodman’s arrival in North Korea for a visit. However, there is no evidence the two events were related.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-  ) called for additional sanctions against North Korea in light of Warmbier’s death. In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday evening, Whitehouse blamed Warmbier’s demise on North Korea’s brutal treatment and said that North Korea cannot be allowed to treat Americans this way.

Fred Warmbier father held a news conference on Thursday in which he said the Barack Obama administration did not do enough to free his son. Fred Warmbier thanked President Donald Trump for calling the family and expressing his concern after Otto returned to the U.S.

Warmbier was scheduled to graduate from the University of Virginia last month. Three Americans still are being held in North Korea.

This article is republished with permission from Talk Media News.

About the author

Regina Holmes has more than two decades of experience as a journalist –editing and reporting for news dailies including the Miami Herald, Newsday and the Baltimore Examiner. Contact the author.

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