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U.S. student who was detained in North Korea dies

Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier, the college student who returned to the United States last week after 17 months of detention in North Korea, died Monday afternoon, his family said in a statement.

“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.,” the statement said. “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.”

Warmbier spent 17 months in detention. He was sentenced last year to 15 years hard labor on charges that he tried to steal a banner with a political slogan from his hotel in Pyongyang.

On his return to the US last week, doctors said the 22-year-old former student was in a “vegetative state.”

North Korea said he had contracted botulism before slipping into a coma, but US doctors said there was no evidence of that.