Warmbiers don't believe N. Korea's story, say son suffered severe neurological injury
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A college student from the Tri-State, imprisoned in North Korea and returned home in a coma, suffered a severe neurological injury.
The biggest mystery that remains is this: What caused it?
Otto Warmbier's family doesn't accept North Korea's explanation.
The family of Otto Warmbeir have been by his side since he arrived in the United States on Tuesday night.
He can breathe on his own and his vital signs are stable, but he's not aware of anything around him and has severe brain damage.
Otto Warmbier's father, Fred, spoke to the media Wednesday morning wearing the same jacket Otto wore when he gave what his dad said was a forced confession in a North Korean trial.
The family said they only learned a week ago that their son was in a coma and don't believe North Korea's story about it being caused by botulism and sleeping pill.
Doctors agree and say there's no evidence of that.
"His neurological condition can be best described as a state of unresponsive wakefulness. He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking, however, he shows no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings,” said one doctor.
Fred Warmbier said his son was in North Korea with a tour group of students from his study abroad program in China.
He says the trip was through a company called the Young Pioneer's Tour.
"So Otto is a young, thrill-seeking great kid. Who was going to be in that part of the world as a college experience and said 'Hey I'd like to do this.' We agreed. They lure Americans there and then they do things to them. That's what happened to my son. He was taken hostage at the airport as he was trying to leave the country,” said Fred Warmbier.
Fred praised President Donald J. Trump for helping them bring Otto home and said he called him personally on Tuesday night.
He said he never talked President Obama and was advised by his administration to say quiet.
But President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a different approach.
Otto's family asked doctors to keep information on his future prognosis private.