Political News

The Latest: Adviser says Obama tried to get Warmbier back

Posted June 15

— The Latest on an American college student freed this week by North Korea (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

One of former President Barack Obama's advisers says the Obama administration had "no higher priority" than securing the release of Americans detained overseas but North Korea's isolation "posed unique challenges."

Ned Price says the Democratic president's administration "worked through every avenue available" to try to secure the release of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir).

Warmbier was released from a North Korean prison and returned home to suburban Cincinnati on Tuesday in a coma. Doctors say he has severe injury to all regions of his brain.

A White House spokeswoman says Warmbier's release "was a big priority" for President Donald Trump.

Price said Thursday the Obama administration's efforts secured the release of at least 10 other Americans from North Korea. He says efforts to get Warmbier home never ceased. He says the administration is heartened Warmbier has been reunited with his family.

___

4:20 p.m.

A U.S. diplomat who traveled to North Korea to secure American college student Otto Warmbier's (WORM'-birz) release also was able to make contact with three other Americans detained there.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student who arrived back home in Ohio on Tuesday in a coma. Doctors say he has severe injury to all regions of his brain.

A Department of State spokeswoman won't say what envoy Joseph Yun gleaned about the medical conditions of the other Americans.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert (NOW'-ert) says the U.S. hopes the other Americans will be able to return home soon.

She says Yun's visit to Warmbier along with two doctors took place in a North Korean hospital. She says Yun traveled with the doctors to North Korea on a private aircraft after being instructed by President Donald Trump to travel there to negotiate Warmbier's release.

___

3:20 p.m.

Doctors in Cincinnati who are treating the American college student released by North Korea in a coma say he has severe injury to all regions of his brain.

On Thursday, they described 22-year-old Otto Warmbier (WORM'-birz) as in a state of "unresponsiveness wakefulness."

They say he doesn't show any consistent response to stimulation, shows no sign of understanding language, responding to commands or awareness of his environment.

Doctors with the University of Cincinnati Health system say Warmbier shows extensive loss of brain tissue, consistent with respiratory arrest, when the brain is cut off from oxygen but they aren't sure why.

They said his prognosis remains confidential.

Warmbier is in stable condition at UC Medical Center, where he was taken Tuesday night after his arrival in Ohio.

___

2:55 p.m.

A former teacher of an American college student released by North Korea in a coma says he's a fighter and believes he'll do everything he can to recover.

Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier's (WORM'-birz) high school English teacher, Danica White, says he was an outstanding student with "a good heart."

White says Warmbier was a master at defusing tense situations with his humor.

White says she kept in touch with the University of Virginia student after he left her class. White calls him a "curious boy" and says his adventurous nature led him to travel extensively during summers.

Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months. He was medically evacuated from the country and arrived in Cincinnati late Tuesday.

___

10:10 a.m.

An Ohio hospital spokeswoman says the American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma suffered a "severe neurological injury."

Kelly Martin of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday that Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir) is in stable condition after arriving at the hospital two days ago.

Doctors plan a news conference on campus later Thursday.

His father, Fred Warmbier, said Thursday he does not believe North Korea's explanation that the coma resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.

Fred Warmbier said there's relief to have their son home in the arms of those who love him and anger that he was so brutally treated for so long.

___

8:10 a.m.

Doctors treating an American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma plan to discuss his medical condition.

Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir) was taken immediately to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center after his arrival Tuesday night in Ohio. A UC Health spokeswoman says doctors will have a news conference on campus Thursday afternoon.

His parents plan a Thursday morning news conference. His father Fred Warmbier told told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that his son, Otto, was "terrorized and brutalized" during his 17-month detention and has been in a coma for more than a year.

He said Otto "is not in great shape right now" and that his family is "adjusting to a different reality."

___

12:13 a.m.

The father of an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea and was returned to his home state of Ohio in a coma says the family is "adjusting to a different reality."

Fred Warmbier (WORM'-bir) told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that his son, Otto, was "terrorized and brutalized" during his 17-month detention and has been in a coma for more than a year.

The father says that he and his wife, Cindy, only learned of their son's condition last week.

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student was medically evacuated from North Korea and arrived in Cincinnati late Tuesday. He was then taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all