Otto Warmbier has 'Severe Neurological Injury,' 'Brutalized' by North Korea

"I knelt down by his side and I hugged him and I told him I missed him and I was so glad that he made it home", Fred Warmbier said.

Gratton witnessed Warmbier being led away by North Korean authorities at the airport, and said that he's stayed in intermittent contact with Warmbier's parents since then. Blue-and-white ribbons were tied around trees and utility poles along the main road.

"Otto is not in great shape right now", Fred Warmbier told Fox News' Tucker Carlson in an interview Wednesday. Fred Warmbier wore the jacket Otto wore during his coerced confession broadcast all over the world during his conviction previous year.

Warmbier said the Obama administration urged the family to maintain a low profile while the administration tried to retrieve Otto.

Warmbier responded: "The question is, do I think the past administration could have done more? They are brutal and bad", said Mr Warmbier.

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.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for stealing a propaganda banner, during a trip there in early 2016.

Otto's release came on the same day that former basketball and reality star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, where he brought a gift for Dictator Kim Jong Un, President Trump's 1987 book "The Art of the Deal".

The student's father, Fred Warmbier doesn't believe that his son's condition was caused by a sleeping pill and botulism, as told by North Korean officials.

He said the president was "very candid" during the telephone call and told him Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other US officials worked hard to negotiate Otto's release.

He was found guilty of committing a "hostile act" against North Korea in March 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Warmbier was released from a North Korean prison and returned home to suburban Cincinnati on Tuesday in a coma. He said he and his wife, Cindy, only learned of their son's condition last week.

Warmbier's release coincided with basketball star Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea, though Michael Anton, a United States national security spokesman, told CNN there is no connection between the two.

After doctors spent about 40 hours with him during imaging and diagnostic tests, they concluded Warmbier is in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.

Former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson's foundation, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, worked for the past year on securing Warmbier's release.

Such detentions in the totalitarian nation have added to tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Three other Americans are being held in North Korea.

Tillerson said Tuesday that the State Department was continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of the other imprisoned Americans.

  • Salvatore Jensen