I was shocked that I just found out about this today. Apparently, the Obama administration wanted to keep this under wraps. This young man was arrested a year and a half ago and we just find out now after Trump fights for his release… and now he’s dead.
I felt sick reading about this. I have a daughter just a couple of years younger than he is and I want her to explore the world. I can just imagine what his parent are going through right now. But more than anything, I’m sure they are grateful that he is finally here, at last.
Otto Warmbier, graduated salutatorian from Wyoming High School in 2013 and was a junior at the University of Virginia. He traveled to North Korea for a 5-day New Year’s tour of the country organized by Young Pioneer Tours with ten other U.S. citizens in his group. He was arrested in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from the hotel he was staying in. He disappeared for more than a year. The US made diplomatic efforts to seek Warmbier’s release. He resurfaced last week when he was flown to the US, suffering from “unresponsive wakefulnesss”. The NK government claims that Warmbier fell into a coma for unknown reasons a month after his imprisonment, and blames it on botulism and sleeping pills. He was released in June 2017, after nearly 18 months in captivity. The coma led to his demise on June 19th at 2:20 pm at the age of 22. His family declined an autopsy on Otto, and only external examination will be conducted.
Doctors at UCMC stated that he was in “a state of unresponsive wakefulness,” a condition commonly known as persistent vegetative state. He was able to breathe on his own, and blink his eyes, but otherwise did not respond to his environment. He was diagnosed with “severe neurological injury”. They speculated that the possible causes of Otto’s death could have been a blood clot, pneumonia, sepsis or kidney failure. Any number of factors could be behind the deterioration in Warmbier’s health during his time in prison: poor hygienic conditions, malnutrition or lack of proper medical care may have been responsible for a coma that North Korean doctors were unable to treat.
I found this article and I’m thinking, you don’t ever know what to believe anymore. “Here’s the Idiotic Reason Otto Warmbier May Have Stolen That North Korean Poster“. I was just trying to wrap my head around all this. Why would this very smart boy put himself in this situation? Didn’t he know how volatile it can get in NK? This could’ve easily been avoided. Hindsight is 20/20. My heart is bleeding… it goes out to his family.
RIP Otto… gone too soon.
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