The parents of Otto Warmbier filed a claim for a North Korean cargo ship seized by the U.S. in May, arguing that the ship could serve as part of their $500 million judgement against the country, CNN reports.
A federal judge awarded the family more than half a billion dollars in a wrongful death suit against the North Korean government, according to CNN.
North Korea never took part in the lawsuit or settlement discussions, with Warmbier’s family “left to chase down the assets of North Korea to recover what they can for the torture and death of their son at the hand of North Korea’s dictator,” the outlet notes, citing court documents.
Warmbier, a former University of Virginia student, was detained in North Korea in 2016 and held captive for more than a year after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
He was released back to the U.S. in June 2017 after President Trumpsecured in return. When Warmbier returned home to Ohio, the then-22-year-old was blind, deaf and in a vegetative state.
He died days later without regaining consciousness.
North Korea in 2017 reportedly issued a $2 million bill to the U.S. for Warmbier’s hospital care.
The U.S. seized the cargo ship in May, saying North Korea violated sanctions in using the vessel, which transported coal to be sold in other countries. Prosecutors say the ship also carried heavy machinery into North Korea, CNN reports.