American student who died after release from North Korea detainment to be laid to rest

Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died just days after North Korea released him from prison while he was in a coma, will be laid to rest in his hometown of Cincinnati on Thursday.

The funeral service began at 9 a.m. ET at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, where Warmbier was the salutatorian of his 2013 graduating class. The service will be open to the public but closed to the press, according to a press release from the funeral home.

Hundreds of people were seen lined up outside the Pendery Center for the Arts, part of Wyoming High School, waiting to enter the auditorium for the funeral service.

Warmbier will be buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum in Cincinnati following the service.

John Sommers II/Reuters
Mourners stand outside the art center before a funeral service for Otto Warmbier, who died after his release from North Korea, at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, June 22, 2017.

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student was detained by North Korea for nearly 17 months before he was medically evacuated and flown to Cincinnati on June 13. He was then rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. North Korea claimed that Warmbier slipped into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after his sentencing.

He was arrested in January 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster while he was visiting North Korea on a sightseeing tour organized by a Chinese-based company. After a one-hour trial in March 2016, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

At a news conference on June 15 his father, Fred Warmbier, revealed that President Trump called him a day earlier to ask about his son and the rest of his family. Warmbier said Trump, who was “very candid” during the telephone call, told him Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other U.S. officials worked hard to negotiate his son’s release.

Fred Warmbier told…

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