Otto Warmbier dies from injuries sustained in N. Korea prison

Published: Thursday, June 15, 2017 @ 7:23 AM
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2017 @ 5:43 PM

Warmbier begs N. Korean panel for leniency

UPDATE @ 5:40 p.m.

President Donald J. Trump made the following statement regarding Warmbier’s death: `Bad things' happened in `brutal' North Korea but at least American died at home with parents.

UPDATE @ 5 p.m.

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement on the passing of Otto Warmbier: 

 

"Otto Warmbier was such a promising young man. He was kind, generous and accomplished. He had all the talent you could ever ask for and a bright future ahead of him. His passing today is a loss for Ohio and for all of us. Jane and I are lifting up the Warmbier family in our prayers at this difficult time, and we are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of this remarkable young Ohioan."

UPDATE @ 4:37 p.m. (June 19)

Otto Warmbier, 22, of Wyoming, Ohio, has died from injuries sustained during detainment in North Korea. 

University of Cincinnati Medical Center released a statement on behalf of Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Monday afternoon. 

“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20 p.m. 

It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost future time that won't be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds. But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person. You can tell from the outpouring of emotion from the communities that he touched Wyoming, Ohio and the University of Virginia to name just two that the love for Otto went well beyond his immediate family. 

We would like to thank the wonderful professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center who did everything they could for Otto. Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today. 

When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands. He looked very uncomfortable almost anguished. Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that. 

We thank everyone around the world who has kept him and our family in their thoughts and prayers. We are at peace and at home too.”

— Fred & Cindy Warmbier and Family

EARLIER REPORT

A southwest Ohio college student held captive by North Korea for more than a year — most of that time in a coma — was released this week. Here’s what we know today after Otto Warmbier’s father and doctors spoke Thursday: 

Extensive brain damage: Doctors said Warmbier, 22, shows no sign of understanding language nor has the ability to verbally respond. An MRI revealed “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain,” said Dr. Daniel Kanter of UC Health. Warmbier has spontaneous moments of eye opening but has neither spoken nor made any purposeful movements, according to doctors.

» RELATED: Doctors say Otto Warmbier has ‘extensive loss of brain tissue’ on return from N. Korea 

Kanter said Otto’s vital signs were stable upon arrival, his skin was in good condition and he was well nourished.

Father speaks: Fred Warmbier called the return of his son “bittersweet.” He is relieved his son is home but angry “that he was so brutally treated for so long.” Cindy Warmbier remains by her son’s side at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. 

Quiet diplomacy: New details emerged Thursday about the role of U.S. special envoy Joseph Yun in the release of Warmbier. Yun spoke and met secretly with North Korean counterparts in the months since President Donald Trump took office. Yun was the first to verify Warmbier’s condition during an extraordinarily rare visit to North Korea by a U.S. diplomat. 

» RELATED: US official's 'quiet diplomacy' led to Warmbier's release 

More on the story:

Arrives in U.S.: A small jet carrying Warmbier, 22, landed at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati on Tuesday night about 10:20 p.m.

In need of care: Warmbier is in a coma. News photos showed him with a tube in his nose being carried from the aircraft before he was taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for medical care.

» RELATED: US college student released by North Korea home, but in coma

Warmbier has been in a coma for “over a year now and urgently needs proper medical care,” said Bill Richardson, the former governor of New Mexico, who has been in touch with the Warmbier family and served periodically as a negotiator with the North Korean government.

Cincinnati-area man released from North Korea

‘Not in great shape’: Fred Warmbier discussed his son’s captivity with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Wednesday: "Otto is not in great shape right now," Fred Warmbier said. "Otto has been terrorized and brutalized for 18 months by a pariah regime in North Korea."

» RELATED: Family of freed student adjusting to 'different reality'

‘Repeatedly beaten’: The New York Times reports that a senior U.S. official said it was only in recent weeks that the “United States obtained intelligence reports indicating that Warmbier had been repeatedly beaten while in North Korean custody.”

Local ties: Warmbier is a 2013 graduate of Wyoming High School in Hamilton County where he was class salutatorian and played soccer. He is an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. 

Charge of subversion: During a one-hour trial in March 2016, North Korea’s highest court sentenced Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion after he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner. 

Government intervention: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson released a statement Tuesday reading: “At the direction of the President, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea.”

North Korea statement: North Korea said in a one-line statement it released Warmbier for what it calls humanitarian reasons. In the country’s first official comment since Warmbier’s return, the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday said Otto Warmbier had been sentenced to hard labor but didn't comment on his medical condition.

» RELATED: Rodman's N. Korea trip off to uncharacteristic low-key start

Flight path home: According to The New York Times, people close to the negotiations said Warmbier was flown to Japan and then Alaska before arriving in Cincinnati. 

Others held: The State Department continues to have discussions with North Korea about three other detained Americans. 

Another Ohioan previously held by North Korea: Warmbier is the second southwest Ohio resident to be held captive and released by North Korea in the past three years. Moraine resident Jeff Fowle was detained for six months after leaving a Bible in a nightclub, considered a crime in North Korea. He was was released in 2014.

The Associated Press and New York Times contributed to this report.

» RELATED: 3 things we learned when North Korea detained a local man

» RELATED: Freed captive explains his secret Bible plan

Crews dispatched on report of house fire in Trotwood

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 5:28 PM

Crews dispatched on report of house fire in Trotwood

Crews have been dispatched to the 4000 block of Thompson Drive in Trotwood on a report of a possible structure fire with a person trapped.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Police officer injured in melee

The incident was dispatched about 5:15 p.m. 

Stay with whio.com for breaking news. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to cmgobnt@hotmail.com

Jimmy Fallon shares hilarious and gross Thanksgiving fails

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 6:06 PM

Comedian Jimmy Fallon gives a thumbs up on Central Park West during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on November 23, 2017 in New York City. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest parade in the world and has been held since 1924. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Comedian Jimmy Fallon gives a thumbs up on Central Park West during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on November 23, 2017 in New York City. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest parade in the world and has been held since 1924. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)(Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Leave it to Jimmy Fallon to help his fans get over their Thanksgiving dinner fails.

>> Read more trending news

On Wednesday night, the comedian and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” host shared some of his fan-submitted Thanksgiving fails that will make you thankful that your dinner came out much better!

Not even old grandpa got a pass when it came to some of these disgusting, yet hilarious, fails!

“My grandpa was making mashed potatoes when his dentures fell into them. He stared right at me and after he put them back in, said, ‘Don’t you tell a soul,'” one fan wrote.

Uncles also weren’t immune from embarrassment when a fan wrote, “My uncle got so drunk that he tried cutting the turkey with the handle.”

One fan shared one hilarious fail that came at their mother-in-law’s expense during Thanksgiving meal prep.

“One year, my mother-in-law was making gravy. She poured the gravy in the strainer and forgot to put a pan underneath, and it all went down the sink!” the writer tweeted. Well, hopefully the turkey wasn’t too dry after that!

Another shared an absolutely grotesque story of an undercooked turkey making its way to the dinner table.

“One year the turkey still had pink juice coming from it after cooking, but my dad said it was just ‘leg juice,’” one fan wrote in. “Everybody but me ended up with food poisoning.”

OMG, people! Use a meat thermometer!

Hopefully your Thanksgiving meal goes off without any fails (or family drama).

Number of bullets Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock fired revealed

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 5:46 PM

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The top lawman in Las Vegas says the gunman who killed dozens of people at a concert last month fired more than 1,100 rounds.

>> Read more trending news

The newly released estimate from Sheriff Joe Lombardo offers more detail about the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Lombardo tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was aware of the previously unreported figure because his department’s forensics lab is working with the FBI to process all ballistics evidence.

Local organizations provide a Thanksgiving meal for those in need

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 5:27 PM


            More than 300 meals were served Thursday during a community Thanksgiving dinner at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamilton. ED RICHTER/STAFF
More than 300 meals were served Thursday during a community Thanksgiving dinner at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamilton. ED RICHTER/STAFF

More than 800 Thanksgiving meals with all the trimmings were provided for people in Hamilton and Middletown who may not have had the means or a place to share in a holiday meal.

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamilton, and Breiel Boulevard Church of God in Middletown, and their many partners and volunteers, prepared a holiday feast on Thursday for hundreds in their communities. The event also drew some people to come and volunteer their time as a way of giving thanks for the blessings they’ve received.

At Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Julia Hilbert said about 20 were already lined up outside the door before the noon start of the Hamilton community dinner, prompting an earlier start.

MORE: For this Butler County couple, every day is Thanksgiving

By 2 p.m., volunteers had already fed more than 200 people. Those who came received hats, gloves and scarves for the upcoming winter season. As people ate their turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and dessert, a magician performed some magic tricks.

Hilbert said it was the third year for the church to host the dinner which was supported by a number of other churches in the community, businesses such as Kroger, Klosterman’s and Wendy’s and community organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Community Meal Center. She said they plan to serve about 300 meals each year.

This year, Hilbert said the cooking started Tuesday through Wednesday and volunteers showed up at 8 a.m. Thursday to get things ready for dinner. “It’s all good,” she said.

Joe Schrock, the church’s pastor, said some volunteers bring their entire families to volunteer to serve the meal before their own holiday meal. He also said those who attended the Thanksgiving meal are a mix of people who come to weekly meals the church provides on Tuesdays. Several Hamilton churches take a turn for a day of the week to provide a meal for the needy, he said.

“Our congregation has a huge hunger ministry,” he said. “For me and the congregation, in these times of division, this is an opportunity for us to build community by getting people to work together. This meal brings a cross-section of the community together and helps to unite it.”

MORE: Hamilton Schools shows its heart with Thanksgiving for less fortunate

Schrock said this is a place for people who have no where else to go to get a real meal and a little bit of family atmosphere.

Jeanine and Dave DuBois of Hamilton have been to the church’s Thanksgiving dinner for the past three years.

“It’s a real good dinner,” Jeanine DuBois said as she ate her meal, adding that the turkey this year was much better than the turkey roll they had last year.”

She said, “the friendly people and environment makes it really special.”

MORE: Light Up Middletown adds more attractions for its 19th season

Dave DuBois agreed the meal was really good and that the church was “nice, friendly place.”

He said the stuffing was the best part of the meal.

Robin Gurwitch of Durham, N.C. said she was working at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center this week and was looking for a place to volunteer on Thanksgiving.

“I feel like I need to give back and this seemed to be a place for giving back to the community,” she said. “It’s a way to be thankful for what I have and to help others who may not have as much.”

She helped out by picking up the empty plates and passing out pies and other desserts.

MORE: Salvation Army of Hamilton launches Red Kettle campaign

Over in Middletown, Jeri Lewis at Breiel Boulevard Church of God, said more than 300 meals were served by 3 p.m. and another 150 carry-out meals would be delivered to elderly and others who could get to the church.

Lewis said this is the fifth year she has organized the community Thanksgiving dinner. She said Breiel, Berachah Church and Christ Church sponsor the dinner that continues to grow each year. Transportation isn’t a problem as she has volunteers use buses and vans from other churches to bring people to the dinner, she said.

Lewis said cooking the dinner began on Wednesday and people were finishing up the preparations starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The Middletown dinner also had people who had no where to go for the holiday meal also arriving before the doors opened up.

Lewis said she also sees the same volunteers come back to help each year and who bring family members as a tradition. Some of the homeless stay after the dinner to help with clean-up.

“I love everybody coming here,” Lewis said. “But visiting the shut-ins is becoming one of my favorite things. It’s so personal when they invite you into their home.”

MORE: Holiday Lights will sparkle again at Pyramid Hill

People who come to the dinner are given hats, scarves and other clothing.

“This is the embodiment of love,” Lewis said. “When Scripture talks about love, this is it in one event.”