The parents of Otto Warmbier gave an interview Tuesday on "Fox & Friends" where they described the day their son came home, and shared their experience learning of the torture he suffered at the hands of the North Korean regime.
"Well, we thought he was in a coma, but you couldn't call it a coma. When I talked to Sen. Portman (R., Ohio) that morning, he said Otto was on a plane coming home and I asked him, ‘Is there brain damage?' And he said, ‘there's severe brain damage,'" Warmbier's mother, Cindy Warmbier, said.
She said that, out of optimism, she hoped Otto would one day improve with proper medical care.
Otto's father, Fred Warmbier, then described a harsher truth. He described the day their son was brought home, and the condition he was in.
"When we got halfway up the steps [of the plane], we heard this howling – [an] involuntary, inhuman sound. We weren't really certain what it was. We climbed to the top of the steps, and we looked in. And Otto was on the stretcher, across in the plane, and he was jerking violently, making these inhuman sounds. Cindy and Gretta [Otto's sister] ran off the plane."
Otto's appearance made clear he had been tortured.
"Otto had a shaved head. He had a feeding tube coming out of his nose. He was staring blankly into space, jerking violently. 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 re-arranged his bottom teeth," Fred Warmbier continued.
"Within two days of Otto being home, his fever spiked to 104 degrees. He had a large scar on his right foot. North Korea is not a victim. They're terrorists," he said.
"They destroyed him," Cindy Warmbier added.
She said their family has made progress in dealing with the tragedy, but it hasn't been easy.
"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. 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," she said.
Otto Warmbier was released by Pyongyang in June after he spend 17 months in a North Korean prison. He died less than one week later.
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The Warmbiers had a clear message when asked what they would like to relay to the Trump administration.
"It was astounding to Cindy and I to discover that North Korea is not listed as a state sponsor of terror. We owe it to the world to list North Korea as a state sponsor of terror," Fred Warmbier said.
President Donald Trump watched the interview, and in response tweeted, "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