BOSTON — Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins has announced the indictment of a former Boston College student on involuntary manslaughter charges in connection with her boyfriend's suicide.
Authorities say 21-year-old Inyoung You was there when her boyfriend, 22-year-old Alexander Urtula, jumped from a parking garage to his death on the morning of May 20, hours before Urtula was set to walk at his graduation.
Detectives say they determined that You was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive toward Urtula during their 18-month relationship. Authorities say the abuse became more frequent, more powerful, and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to Urtula's death.
"The investigation revealed that Ms. You used manipulative attempts and threats of self-harm to control him. 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 to take his own life," said Rollins.
According to Rollins, You was controlling to the point where she would track Urtula's location through his cellphone to find him.
Officials say in the two months prior to Urtula's death, the couple exchanged more than 75,000 text messages, of which You sent more than 47,000.
Amid the tens of thousands of text messages shared by the couple were texts from You saying things like "Go kill yourself," or "Just die."
According to Rollins, "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. Her texts included repeated admonitions for Mr. Urtula to "go kill himself" to "go die" and that she, his family, and the world would be better off without him.
The indictment alleges You's behavior was wanton and reckless and resulting in "overwhelming Urtula's will to live; and that she created life-threatening conditions for Mr. Urtula that she had a legal duty to alleviate, which she failed to do."
Watch District Attorney Rollins' full news conference below:
Right now, the suspect is in South Korea. Authorities are working to extradite her back to the United States. Officials say more details will be released at You's arraignment.
Boston College sent Boston 25 News the following statement:
"Alex Urtula, from Cedar Grove, New Jersey, was a biology major at Boston College, who completed his course work in December of 2018. He was working as a researcher in New York, and was scheduled to receive his diploma at BC's Commencement on May 20 2019, when he took his life at the Renaissance Parking Garage. .
Inyoung You, from South Korea, studied economics at Boston College. She withdrew from classes in August. She was scheduled to graduate in May of 2020.
Alexander was a gifted student at Boston College, who was involved in many activities, including the Philippine Society of Boston College. We continue to offer our condolences to Alex's family."
The case is reminiscent of that of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman who was sentenced to 15 months in jail after she was convicted in 2017 of involuntary manslaughter for using text messages and phone calls to encourage her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, him to kill himself in 2014.
Rollins acknowledged similarities between You's case and Carter's case but said there were significant differences as well, such as the complete control You had over Urtula.
Carter's lawyers maintained her texts were constitutionally protected free speech. Her conviction was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, but has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn't yet decided whether it will take up the case.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence and are in immediate danger call 911. In addition, a free 24/7 statewide support line is available through SafeLink at 1-877-785-2020. To be connected to additional resources you can also contact the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office at 617-419-4000 and ask the Chief of the Victim Witness Advocate Unit. You are not alone. Help is available.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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