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South Korean Woman Charged for Instigating Filipino Boyfriend’s Suicide

In over 47,000 texts in the two months before his death, Inyoung You told her boyfriend to “go kill yourself.”

by Edoardo Liotta
01 November 2019, 11:24am

Photo of Inyoung You and Alexander Urtula, released by Urtula’s family.

Police are charging a South Korean woman, Inyoung You, for instigating the suicide of her Filipino American boyfriend, Alexander Urtula. Prosecutors on the case said that during their 18-month relationship, Inyoung was “physically, verbally and psychologically abusive.”

The charges were announced on October 28 by County District Attorney Rachael Rollins. It comes 5 months after 22-year-old Urtula ended his life on May 20, 2019, his graduation day from Boston College (BC), where he and You were students. His family travelled to Boston from New Jersey, Urtula’s hometown, for his graduation.

He died at 8:35 am, two hours before his graduation. According to the prosecutors, You followed Urtula to the garage of the building where he killed himself.

You dropped out of BC three months later in August, and returned to South Korea. She was expected to graduate in May next year.

Rollins said that in the two months of the relationship before Urtula’s death, You sent Urtula more than 47,000 texts that included messages saying “go kill yourself” and “go die.”

“Domestic violence does not discriminate. It effects individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or nationality,” Rollins said.

On the text messages, the district attorney’s office said: “This unrelenting abuse was witnessed by friends and classmates of both parties and documented extensively in text messages between the couple, and in Mr. Urtula’s journal entries.”

“Many of the messages display the power dynamic of the relationship, wherein Ms. You made demands and threats with the understanding that she had complete and total control over Mr. Urtula both mentally and emotionally.”

Prosecutors are in contact with You’s lawyer and are trying to get her to return to the US voluntarily. If she doesn’t, Rollins said that an extradition proceeding will commence.

If charged with involuntary manslaughter, You could face up to 20 years in prison according to Massachusetts law.

Urtula worked as a researcher at a hospital in New York. The two were both active in the Philippine Society of Boston College. You was treasurer of the group in 2017.

An Nguyen, a second-year BC student, told the Insider, "Being on this university campus, there is a culture of mental health problems not being addressed.”

"I know Inyoung. I know she was enrolled at [Boston College] mental health counseling service,” she added.

Rollins acknowledged that there are similarities between You’s case and that of Michelle Carter. In 2014, 17-year-old Carter, also from Massachusetts, coerced her 18-year-old boyfriend, Conrad Roy, into ending his life in a series of calls and text messages. She was sentenced to 15 months in prison and is expected to be released in 2020.

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Tagged:
South Korea
mental health
suicide
Philippines