Otto Warmbier in state of 'unresponsive wakefulness,' doctors say

Cheryl Sanders
June 26, 2017

Otto Warmbier, 22, has been in "a state of unresponsive wakefulness" since arriving at an OH hospital after what North Korean officials said was more than a year in a coma, doctor Daniel Kanter said. The North Koreans arrested Otto in January of 2016, saying that he stole a banner with a political slogan from the walls of his hotel.

In recent months, Warmbier said, he and his wife, Cindy, had chose to take a more public stance in calling for their son's release, after months of following advice that they should try not to antagonize or offend leaders in North Korea.

While the North Korean authorities say the coma was caused by botulism and sleeping pills, Fred Warmbier does not believe it.

"Relief that Otto is now home in the arms of those who love him and anger that he was so brutally treated for so long", he said at a news conference at Wyoming High School, where Warmbier graduated in 2013 as class salutatorian and played soccer. When asked about his son's condition, he replied, "We are making him comfortable".

"We don't believe anything they (the North Koreans) say", his father said. After the trial, North Korea alleged Otto Warmbier came down with botulism, which meant his captors had to give him a sleeping pill, and he never woke up. He said he would leave the medical details of his son's condition to the doctor's press conference (at 3pm this afternoon).

He returned home to OH on Tuesday in a coma after being "brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime", his family said in a statement.

"They lure Americans, they take them hostage, then they do things to them", he said, tearing up as he pointed out to reporters that he was wearing the same jacket Otto wore for his televised confession. They'd had no word from Otto since March 2016. "There's no excuse for the way North Koreans treated our son".

Otto Warmbier was rushed to a Cincinnati hospital shortly after arriving from Pyongyang late Tuesday night.

Warmbier was released Tuesday from North Korea, where he had been jailed for more than 17 months.

On Thursday, the State Department said that USA diplomat Joseph Yun, who negotiated Mr Warmbier's release, had also met with three other U.S. citizens being held in North Korea.

The parents of Otto Warmbier have spoken at a press event in Cincinnati on Thursday to share information about their son. "I'm so glad you're home".

"I'm so proud of Otto, my son, who has been in a pariah regime for the last 18 months, brutalized and terrorized", Warmbier said.

"Disbelief. Couldn't sit down".

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