The first time Otto Warmbier’s parents saw their son after he was flown back from North Korea in June, they were confronted with the sound of inhuman howling so terrifying Otto’s mom ran off the plane.
As they waited for the plane bringing him back to Ohio, Otto’s parents, Fred and Cindy, had held on to hope that with medical care in the United States, he would eventually get better. That optimism didn’t last long.
They instead saw the reality of torture at the hands of Kim Jong Un’s brutal regime: their son was now blind and deaf, with mangled teeth, jerking violently and moaning on a stretcher with a feeding tube coming out of his nose.
That’s how he would spend his final days before dying at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center on June 19.
President Trump, who has previously talked about Warmbier’s treatment in stark terms, tweeted about the interview with Fred and Cindy: “Great interview on @foxandfriends with the parents of Otto Warmbier: 1994 – 2017. Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea.”
Great interview on @foxandfriends with the parents of Otto Warmbier: 1994 – 2017. Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Cindy told “Fox & Friends” she and her husband were told that Otto, who had been imprisoned for more than a year for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster from his North Korean hotel, was brain damaged.
“So what we pictured, because we’re optimists, is that Otto would be asleep and maybe in a medically induced coma and then when our doctors here would work with him and he’d get the best care and love that he would come out of it,” she said during the first interview the couple had given since their 22-year-old son died.
The reality of Otto’s injuries were much worse than the Warmbiers could ever imagine.
“We walked over to the plane, the engines are still humming, they had just landed…when we got halfway up the steps we heard this howling, involuntary, inhuman sound,” Fred said. “We weren’t really certain what it was.”
When they spotted their son, they found Otto on a stretcher, jerking violently, producing the terrifying cries.
“Otto had a shaved head, he had a feeding tube coming out of his nose, he was staring blankly into space, jerking violently,” Fred said. “He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.”
He added: “North Korea is not a victim, they are terrorists. They purposefully and intentionally injured Otto.”