Tensions with North Korea have continued to escalate in recent months, primarily due to Kim Jong un’s regime continuing to develop and test nuclear weapon and ballistic missile technology in the face of repeated UN resolutions and sanctions.  However, the effect of one American student’s death after being released from North Korean custody can’t be understated, as it, in many ways, set the tone for escalating assertions levied at Kim’s regime from the United States of America.  What exactly happened to the 22-year-old, however, remains shrouded in mystery.

Otto Warmbier, an American that was arrested during a brief visit to North Korea in early 2016 for reportedly stealing a propaganda poster from the hallway of his hotel, was returned to the United States, in June of this year.  The student, who had left in good health, returned in a coma, and according to his parents, in a dismal physical state.

“We weren’t prepared for this at all,” said Cindy Warmbier, Otto’s mother. “No one had any idea, going in there, what we were going to see.”

Halfway up the stairs, we hear this loud, guttural, howling, inhuman sound. We don’t know what it is,” Fred Warmbier, Otto’s father, said. “He’s strapped to the stretcher, and he’s moving around and jerking violently, making these howling, inhuman sounds.”