North Korea denies torturing United States detainee Otto Warmbier

The North's foreign ministry spokesman said Warmbier was "a victim of the policy of strategic patience" of former U.S. President Barack Obama whose government never requested his release, according to comments carried by the official KCNA agency. After returning from a five-day trip to North Korea on June 17, former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman suggested on Friday that his visit may have had something to do with Pyonyang's decision to send the student home.

"He had a deep desire to know God in a personal way", Thomas said.

The front of the funeral program featured a quote from Warmbier's 2013 salutatorian speech: "This is our season finale".

It accused South Korea of tarnishing North Korea's image with "slanderous talk about cruel treatment and torture" while having no knowledge of the "humanitarian" treatment Warmbier received.

This tight-knit community near Cincinnati had spent almost a year and a half "holding our breaths, praying for a quick release, rallying around the Warmbiers as much as possible" amid a dearth of information about the college student's fate, said Cynthia Meis, director of college counseling, who joined the faculty of Wyoming High School in 2012. "This is the end of one great show, but just the beginning to hundreds of new spin-offs".

The spokesman said that Warmbier was provided with proper medical treatment, and questioned why he died so soon after returning to the US. The exact cause of Warmbier's death remains unclear.

"Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime", said U.S. Sen.

Warmbier was accused of stealing a propaganda poster.

US President Donald Trump called the situation a "disgrace".

Otto died because of severe brain damage.

His treating physicians said he suffered from unresponsive wakefulness, a condition also known as persistent vegetative state.

Warmbier's brother, sister and friends spoke at the service, NPR member station WVXU in Cincinnati reports. In a news conference before Warmbier's death, they said they found no evidence of botulism, casting doubt on North Korea's claim. He described Warmbier as outgoing, athletic, bright and curious. A US official said on Thursday that North Korea had conducted another test of a rocket engine believed to be linked to Pyongyang's ICBM program. He said he suspected Warmbier was denied basic medical care while detained in the reclusive country.

Washington has considered further "secondary sanctions" against Chinese banks and other firms doing business with North Korea, which China opposes.

The Hamilton County Coroner's Office conducted only an external examination Warmbier's body.

"Unfortunately, the bad torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today", said Fred Warmbier as he announced his son's death.