Student freed from North Korea suffered 'severe neurological injury'

During his statement, Fred Warmbier rejected North Korea's explanation for his son's condition.

He said there was no reason for North Korea to keep his son's condition secret for more than a year and to deny him top medical care. "I call on them to release the other Americans being held", he urged.

A better approach, he said, would be to pass legislation that would ban Americans from visiting North Korea - with exceptions for journalists, humanitarian groups and government-organized trips - and sanction tour companies that ignored the ban.

The Ohio man said he trusted a "false premise they would treat Otto fairly and let him go", even though he did not hear from his son for 15 months.

Residents of the northern Cincinnati suburb tied blue-and-white ribbons, the school colors, to trees near the family's home. "I think the results speak for themselves".

An American college student who was being detained in North Korea for a minor crime has returned home in a coma, and everyone wants to know why.

Among the battery of tests Otto Warmbier underwent at UC Health: a brain scan which showed "extensive loss of brain tissue" in all areas of the brain. But it emerged as he traveled back home that Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was in a coma.

"Otto is not in great shape right now", Fred Warmbier told Fox News Wednesday after his son arrived back in the U.S. on a military plane and was taken straight to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for urgent treatment.

Otto Warmbier was arrested in January 2016 and charged with "hostile acts" against North Korea over allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster from his hotel.

Doctors say Mr Warmbier had no trace of botulism in his system, but has a severe brain injury and is in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness".

Fred Warmbier said of his son's release by the regime: "They did not do this out of the kindness of their hearts".

Warmbier, 22, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, was medically evacuated to the United States on Wednesday. Warmbier said he and his wife grew exhausted of the "strategic patience" approach, and began talking to the media.

In recent months, Warmbier said, he and his wife, Cindy, had made a decision 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.

Otto Warmbier at a news conference in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang. They plan to hold a news conference Thursday morning in their home state of Ohio.

Cardiac arrest in young, healthy people is rare and generally caused by either intoxication or traumatic injury, Dr. Jordan Bonomo, a specialist in neurosurgery and neurocritical care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said at the news conference.

While many have been asking, "What happened to Otto Warmbier?".

Such detentions in the totalitarian nation have added to tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Others want to know why he was in North Korea in the first place.

He also said President Trump told him that Rex Tillerson and the State Department worked very hard in order to get his son released.

  • Leroy Wright