President Donald Trump offered his condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died after being imprisoned in North Korea for the past 17 months.
“Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing. There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life,” the president said in a statement.
The president then condemned the “brutality of the North Korean regime,” adding that Warmbier’s death deepened his administration’s determination “to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.”
The 22-year-old died earlier Monday in Cincinnati, Ohio, days after North Korea released the Warmbier to the U.S. in a coma. The North Korea government claimed Warmbier fell into a coma resulted from contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill in 2016. However, doctors in the U.S. did not find evidence of the illness, saying last week that Warmbier suffered a “severe neurological injury.”
While Trump met with tech CEOs today, the president said a lot of “bad things happened” to Warmbier while he was detained in North Korea.
“But at least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him, even though he was in very tough condition. But he just passed away a little while ago. It is a brutal regime and we’ll be able to handle it,” the president said.
Warbier traveled to North Korea in 2016 with the help of the Young Pioneer Tours group. The North Korea government said the University of Virginia student was detained after he had allegedly attempted to steal a political poster from his hotel.