North Korea: Otto Warmbier's death 'is a mystery to us'


The Congressmen proposed the bipartisan legislation late last month, but the bill has gained traction since the death of Otto Warmbier, a college student who was imprisoned by North Korea for over a year.

Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, told the throng of reporters stationed outside that Warmbier was "an awesome young man" from a resilient family and that North Korea must be held accountable for what happened to the 22-year-old University of Virginia student, who died Monday.

Doctors who examined Warmbier upon his arrival in the USA described his condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness", and indicated he suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause.

Friends, family and community members were lined up as early as 7 a.m. outside Wyoming High School, where Warmbier graduated in 2013.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from Wyoming, Ohio, was 21 when he was detained in North Korea and held for almost 17 months before he was medically evacuated and flown to Cincinnati on June 13.

The service was held at the 22-year-old's school in OH, before his burial at a nearby cemetery.

Mr Warmbier was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting North Korea in 2015 and was later convicted of subversion. A rabbi officiated at the service, which was closed to news media.

"The Western Wall was a truly incredible experience for me", he said.

North Korean officials claimed Warmbier fell into a coma in March a year ago due to botulism and a sleeping pill.

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Given the fact that there are three other Americans still being held in North Korea, our retaliatory options are limited.

He died on Monday at a Cincinnati hospital and was buried on Thursday. "They needed to be careful about the things that they might say, that the North Koreans might take offense [and] that might cause the North Koreans to react very angrily and badly".

His family declined an autopsy.

His family blamed the "awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans".

In addition to the external exam, the coroner's office reviewed his medical records from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and AeroMed Management Group, the air ambulance service that helped evacuate him from Pyongyang, North Korea, where he had been detained.

"It doesn't matter where he was or what he was doing, he was always there for you whenever you needed him", Austin said of his older brother before the sea of gatherers. "If we could get more trips going over there, I think anything is possible", Volo said.

Portman was quoted as telling reporters that Warmbier was an "amazing young man" and North Korea must be held accountable for his death. Doctors in Cincinnati said they found no active sign of botulism or evidence of beatings.

The Warmbiers added that they are "at peace" and "at home".

A day last week's talks, President Donald Trump said China's efforts to use its leverage with North Korea had failed, raising fresh doubts about his administration's strategy for countering the threat from North Korea. "Our sympathies are with the Warmbier family".