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North Korea: U.S. student’s death a ‘mystery’

The Hill logo The Hill 23/06/2017 Max Greenwood

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North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency called U.S. student Otto Warmbier's death a "mystery," CNN reported Friday.

"The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well," the agency reported.

Warmbier had been held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel. He returned to the U.S. last week and was soon revealed to have been in a coma for more than a year.

State Department officials honor Otto Warmbier at Ohio funeral: <span style="font-size:13px;">North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency called U.S. student Otto Warmbier's death a "mystery".</span> © Provided by The Hill North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency called U.S. student Otto Warmbier's death a "mystery".

North Korea's government said that Warmbier had gone into the coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.

Warmbier's family, however, said they believe the 22-year-old college student was tortured in North Korea.

Upon arriving in Cincinnati last week, doctors who examined Warmbier said they found no trace of botulism bacteria, and that he did not exhibit any signs of physical trauma or abuse, though he had severe brain damage.

After Warmbier's abrupt death on Monday, his family declined an autopsy.

Warmbier's mysterious condition and subsequent death have fueled tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, which have been at odds over Pyongyang's rapidly advancing nuclear and missiles programs.

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