American student Otto Frederick Warmbier, center, arrives at a court for his trial in Pyongyang, capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on March 16, 2015. American student Otto Frederick Warmbier, held by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for anti-DPRK crimes. Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images
9:46 AM ET
(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, an American serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.
Tillerson says that Warmbier is on his way back to the U.S. to be re-united with his family. He says in a statement that the State Department secured Warmbier's release at the direction of President Donald Trump. Tillerson says the State Department continues discussing three other detained Americans with North Korea.
The announcement comes as former NBA player Dennis Rodman is paying a return visit to North Korea.
Warmbier is a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati. He was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.