Breaking: Otto Warmbier Has Passed Away

Maureen Collins | June 19, 2017
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Otto Warmbier, the American college student just released from North Korea last week, has passed away. 

A statement from his family reads, "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 pm." 

Otto Warmbier had a bright and promising future ahead of him. He was salutatorian of his high school class before attending the University of Virginia with the hopes of becoming an investment banker. 

All of this was stolen from him in late 2015 when he decided to take a tour of North Korea. Right before leaving the country, he was arrested for "war crimes"--removing a propaganda poster--and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. 

The Trump administration was able to negotiate Otto's release after he spent 17 months in a North Korean prison. He returned home to Ohio last week. 

Unfortunately, the once brilliant student returned home in a coma with severe brain damage. Other than an unreliable statement about botulism and a sleeping pill from the North Koreans, little is known about how Otto's condition came about. 

From the beginning, Otto's release did not seem a like high priority on the Obama State Department's agenda. According to Otto's parents, a low level staffer from the State Department called the Warmbier family to inform them that their son was detained by the brutal Kim regime. Then, the administration advised Otto's parents to keep a low profile so as not to offend the North Koreans. 

After just 5 months into the Trump administration, Otto's release was negotiated by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy, Joseph Yun.

When asked whether the past administration could have done more for Otto, his father Frank Warmbier answered "I think the results speak for themselves." 

Rest In Peace, Otto Warmbier. You deserved much better from your home country.