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Korean Woman Faces Charge For Abusing Boyfriend Over 18 Months Into Killing Himself

She urged him hundreds of times to kill himself in text messages, using words like "go die" and "go kill yourself".

Cover image via Suffolk County District Attorney/The Washington Post NBC News

On 20 May, a 22-year-old student of Boston College, US leapt to his death just 90 minutes before his graduation ceremony was about to start

According to a letter informing Boston College students of his death, the student who died by suicide, Alexander Urtula, was from Cedar Grove, New Jersey.

Urtula was a biology major at Boston College. He was working as a researcher in a hospital in New York after he completed his course work in December last year, and had planned to attend the graduation ceremony in May.

According to The New York Times, Urtula's family, from New Jersey, was also in Boston that day to watch him receive his diploma.

The letter also stated the deceased was a gifted student involved in many college activities, including the Philippine Society of Boston College.

After an initial search of his cell phone and months of extensive investigation, it was announced on Monday, 28 October, that the prosecutors have charged his college girlfriend, Inyoung You, with involuntary manslaughter over his suicide

You, a 21-year-old student who was also studying in Boston College at the time, was "physically, verbally, and psychologically abusive" toward Urtula during their 18-month relationship that she caused him to kill himself, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins told reporters at a press conference.

The abuse became "more frequent, more powerful, and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to" Urtula's death, Rollins said, as quoted by The Washington Post.

Rollins added that family members and classmates of both parties had witnessed the abuse, which was also documented in Urtula's journal and in tens of thousands of text messages.

Alexander Urtula with his girlfriend, Inyoung You.

Image via Suffolk County District Attorney/The Washington Post

The couple had exchanged more than 75,000 text messages, including more than 47,000 sent by You, in the two months before Urtula's death

In those texts, the district attorney said, You urged Urtula hundreds of times to kill himself, using words like "go die" and "go kill yourself", and repeatedly saying that she, his family, and the world would be better off without him.

"You also used attempts and threats of self-harm to control Urtula," said Rollins.

"Many of the messages clearly display the power dynamic in the relationship wherein You had complete and total control over Urtula, both mentally and emotionally."

It was also found that You was aware of his spiraling depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by her abuse. Even still, she continued to encourage her boyfriend to take his own life.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via NBC News

Authorities also said that on the morning of Urtula's suicide, You was tracking his location on her phone, as she frequently did, and was present on the roof of the garage at the time that he jumped

"The indictment alleges You's behaviour was wanton and reckless, and resulted in overwhelming Urtula's will to live," Rollins said, "and that she created life-threatening conditions for him that she had a legal duty to alleviate, which, we allege, she failed to do."

"Domestic violence may not always look the same," she added, "but it is always about power and control."

You, who studied economics and was scheduled to graduate in May 2020, withdrew from classes in August this year

She is currently in South Korea, where she is from, Rollins said.

Prosecutors said that a grand jury returned an indictment in the case this month, and that they were working to secure You's return to the United States.

"We're in contact with somebody who is saying that they're representing her, to see if she will voluntarily return," Ms. Rollins said. "If she does not, we will utilise the power we have to get her back."

Suicide is never the option.
If you or anyone you know may be at risk of suicide, please call these Malaysian hotlines:

1. ALL WOMEN'S ACTION SOCIETY (AWAM) - TELENITA
Address: 85, Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Contact: +603-7877 0224 | Website

2. BEFRIENDERS
Address: 95 Jalan Templer, 46000, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Contact: +603-7956 8144 | +603-7956 8145 | [email protected] | Website

3. DBKL TELECOUNSELLING
Address: Tingkat 1, Menara DBKL, Jalan Raja Laut 50350 Kuala Lumpur.
Contact: 1800-88-2600 | 03-26179905

4. TALIAN NUR
Contact: 15999 | [email protected]

5. WOMEN'S AID ORGANISATION (WAO)
Contact: +03-7956 3488 |[email protected] | Website

If you ever need a listening ear:

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