Public funeral planned for US student Warmbier

2017-06-21 06:10
In this file photo, Otto Warmbier bows before speaking to reporters in Pyongyang. (AP)

In this file photo, Otto Warmbier bows before speaking to reporters in Pyongyang. (AP)

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Cincinnati - A public funeral service is planned for Thursday at a high school attended by 22-year-old college student Otto Warmbier, who was held for nearly a year and a half in North Korea and died shortly after he was sent home to Ohio in a coma.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Hamilton County Coroner Dr Lakshmi Sammaraco said the office accepted the case of Warmbier

The coroner's office daily report on Tuesday included Warmbier in its listings with cause of death termed "pending".

Steal banner

Wambier's parents did not cite a specific cause of death, but cited "awful, torturous mistreatment" by North Korea. Doctors had described Warmbier's condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" and said he suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause.

The funeral will be held at Wyoming High School, where Warmbier was an athlete and salutatorian of his 2013 class.

Warmbier was returned to Ohio on June 13 after being held for more than 17 months.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group and was convicted of subversion.

He was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labour. His family said it was told he had been in a coma since soon after his sentencing.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Warmbier's death after his lengthy detention in North Korea was a "total disgrace" and that if the college student had been returned home to the US earlier, "I think the result would have been a lot different".

Unresponsive wakefulness

Doctors said Warmbier suffered extensive loss of brain tissue and "profound weakness and contraction" of his muscles, arms and legs. His eyes opened and blinked but without any sign that he understood verbal commands or his surroundings.

Unresponsive wakefulness is a new medical term for persistent vegetative state. Patients in this condition can open their eyes but do not respond to commands. People can live in a state of unresponsive wakefulness for many years with the chances of recovery depending on the extent of the brain injury.

North Korea said Warmbier went into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill. Doctors in Cincinnati said they found no active sign of botulism or evidence of beatings.


Read more on:    donald trump  |  otto warmbier  |  north korea  |  us

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