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A former Boston College student has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the suicide death of her boyfriend.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced Monday that 21-year-old Inyoung You was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 18.
Alexander Urtula, 22, leapt to his death from a Roxbury parking garage this past May, just hours before he was to graduate from BC. Prosecutors said a police search of his phone provided clues as to what led to his death.
"Suffolk County prosecutors and the MBTA transit police detectives determined that Ms. You was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive toward Mr. Urtula during their 18-month-long relationship," Rollins said at a news conference in her office.
You was able to track Urtula's location and was present at the garage when he jumped to his death on May 20, Rollins told reporters. Investigators discovered in the two months before his death that the couple traded more than 75,000 text messages, with You sending more than 47,000 of them — including, Rollins said, texts where You urged Urtula to kill himself.
Rollins added that You made demands and threats to Urtula with the understanding that she had "complete and total control" over Urtula, both mentally and emotionally.
"The investigation revealed that Ms. You used manipulative attempts and threats of self-harm to control him," Rollins said. "It also found that she was aware of his spiraling depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by her abuse, yet she persisted, continuing to encourage him to take his own life."
In a statement, Rollins' office also said "this unrelenting abuse was witnessed by friends and classmates of both parties" and documented in Urtula's journal entries.
Since Urtula's death, You has returned to her native country, South Korea. Rollins said her office has been in contact with a person who said they are representing her in the legal matter and are attempting to get her to return to the U.S. to face the charges. Rollins' office did not provide the name of her attorney.
Rollins said if You does not return to the U.S. voluntarily, they will use other methods available to her office to have her extradited to Boston.
Rollins added that while the case is a tragedy, it's just one example of the systemic epidemic of domestic violence.
"Domestic violence does not manifest in one particular way," she said. "It can include forced isolation from friends and family, physical assault, stalking, economic coercion, emotional threats, sexual assault and psychological intimidation."
Rollins also pointed out that domestic violence is not perpetrated by simply "one type of abuser," and is not limited to any one gender.
The case is reminiscent of another Massachusetts texting-suicide case. Michelle Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 after a judge found she encouraged her former boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to take his own life in 2014. Carter began serving a 15-month sentence earlier this year.
A bill called "Conrad's Law" was filed in the Legislature in July to establish a penalty of five years' imprisonment for coercing another person into suicide. The legislation remains under review by the Judiciary Committee.
Resources: You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Samaritans Statewide Hotline at 1-877-870-HOPE (4673). The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
This segment aired on October 28, 2019.
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