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Otto Warmbier’s Parents Describe His Last Days: ‘They Destroyed Him’

3 minute read

The parents of Otto Warmbier — the college student who was detained for 17 months in North Korea then died days after he returned home in a coma — called the country “terrorists” for capturing and torturing their son.

In their first interview since their son’s June death, Fred and Cindy Warmbier said they felt the need to speak out in the wake of the country’s threats against President Donald Trump and the United States.

“But now we see North Korea claiming to be a victim and that the world is picking on them and we’re here to tell you: North Korea is not a victim. They’re terrorists,” Fred said on Fox and Friends Tuesday morning. “They kidnapped Otto. They tortured him. They intentionally injured him. They are not victims.”

The parents described seeing Otto for the first time after he was captured. Although they knew he had suffered brain damage, Fred and Cindy were hopeful that the right medical care could help him. However, they quickly learned the terrifying extent of his injuries.

After a medical team boarded the plane that carried Otto back to the U.S., his family was allowed to see him. The University of Virginia student let out a “howling, involuntary, inhuman” sound that sent his mother and sister running from the aircraft.

Fred said his son was blind and deaf. Otto was “jerking violently” on a stretcher with a feeding tube out of his nose, and his mouth looked as through “someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.”

“They destroyed him,” Cindy said.

It was hard for Otto’s family to see their son after being neglected and abused.

“Our image of Otto, as you know, was of someone just wonderful, beautiful inside and out. And to see how he came home was too much for us,” Cindy explained. “I almost passed out but I got it together, and I rode in the ambulance with him, ’cause I did not want him to be alone anymore. He’d been alone for way too long. And we stayed with him and loved him as best as we could.”

Fred stated that North Korea should be listed as a state sponsor of terror.

“It was astounding to Cindy and I to discover that North Korea is not listed as a state sponsor of terror,” he said. “We owe it to the world to list North Korea as a state sponsor of terror.”

Trump gave his approval of the interview on Twitter.

“Great interview on @foxandfriends with the parents of Otto Warmbier: 1994 – 2017. Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

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