22-year-old Otto Warmbier was traveling with a group to North Korea in January 2016. On his last day there, he attempted to steal a banner. He was then stopped by police at the airport and taken to jail. Two months later a court determined Warmbier’s sentence of 15 years hard labor.
Now, after 17 months, North Korea has released him back to the United States for “humanitarian reasons”. He has been in a coma for over a year and his family was not notified by the country.
Otto arrived home in Cincinnati Ohio on Tuesday, June 13th. He was immediately taken my ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Doctors have confirmed that he is in an “unresponsive wakefulness”, unable to move, communicate or understand his surroundings. North Korea claims the reasoning behind the coma is a combination of botulism, a toxin that causes nerve injury, and a sleeping pill. He has suffered extensive loss of brain tissue, and there is no evidence to support North Korea’s claim of botulism. Currently, three other Americans remain in North Korea’s custody.