'It Doesn't Feel Real Yet': Hundreds Gather to Mourn Otto Warmbier

by Abel Hampton June 25, 2017, 1:02

Mourners turned out in droves to pay their final respects yesterday to Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student imprisoned for more than a year by North Korea and sent back home in a mysterious coma that proved fatal.

"Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died at 2:20pm", Warmbier's parents said in a statement Monday, according to an Ohio-based paper.

They heard stories about his life, rap music he listened to and his habit of shopping for sweaters at thrift stores.

Speaking early today to assembled reporters across the street from Wyoming High School, US Senator Rob Portman of OH highlighted the community support that the Warmbier family has received during the tragedy.

One of his former school counselors, who was attending the funeral, told CNN the community had been holding its collective breath while he was imprisoned in North Korea, "praying for a quick release, rallying around the Warmbiers as much as possible".

His next videos would show him begging for his life - "Think of my family!" he sobbed - as he was tried and convicted of subversion, for allegedly stealing a propaganda banner as a souvenir.

Hundreds of mourners are celebrating the life of an American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after being returned home to OH in a coma.

It blamed accusations of mistreatment on an American "smear campaign" and accused South Korean of seeking to exploit Warmbier's death to press its own demand for the release of six detainees.

Joseph Yun, the US special representative for North Korea policy, who visited Pyongyang and brought Warmbier home.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who had met with North Korean officials in NY to press for Warmbier's release, attended the funeral.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman spoke at the funeral, calling Warmbier "an awesome young man" and saying Warmbier should not have been detained.

Portman spoke Thursday outside Wyoming High School in Warmbier's hometown, where hundreds of people lined up early for a public memorial service.

"This process has been a window into both evil, and love and good", one of Ohio's two U.S. senators, Rob Portman, told reporters before the funeral, which was closed to the media. Relatives say they were told the 22-year-old University of Virginia student had been in a coma since shortly after he was sentenced to prison in March 2016.

Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, told a news conference last week that his son had flourished while at the high school.

The Hamilton County coroner is still trying to determine the cause of Warmbier's death Monday.

Doctors said the University of Virginia college student, who was on a tourist trip when arrested, had suffered severe brain damage while in North Korean captivity.


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