Otto Warmbier, the college student held prisoner in North Korea who arrived home last week in a coma, has died, his family said Monday.
The 22-year-old Cincinnati-area native arrived home after 17 months in captivity with severe brain damage. He never regained consciousness.
“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,” his parents said in a statement.
“At least he got home to his parents,” said President Trump, speaking at an American Technology Council roundtable. North Korea, he said, is “a brutal regime and we’ll be able to handle it.”
In a formal statement released by the White House, Trump said “Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing. There is nothing more tragic for a parent that to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him.”
GOP Sen. John McCain, who spent more than five years as a POW during the Vietnam War, minced no words in reacting to Warmbier’s death. “Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime.”
The student had sobbed in court as he confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting the country last year. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in a North Korean prison.
Warmbier’s father, Fred, accused the North Koreans of torturing his son.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier received no news about their son while he was behind bars in the communist state. The University of Virginia student was allowed no consular visits.