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Student charged in boyfriend’s suicide over texts urging him to kill himself

Alexander Urtula, left, is shown alongside Inyoung You. Suffolk County DA's Office via CBS Boston

A former Boston College student who allegedly used text messages to badger her boyfriend into killing himself has been indicted for involuntary manslaughter.

Inyoung You, 21, was charged Monday in the death of Alexander Urtula, 22, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced at a news conference. You is from South Korea, while Urtula was from New Jersey.

Rollins said You had “complete and total control” over Urtula’s life, and that she was “physically, verbally and psychologically abusive” toward him during their 18-month relationship.

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Urtula died by suicide in Boston on the morning of May 20 — the day he was supposed to graduate. You was there when he died, Rollins said.

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His death capped a year and a half of abuse and manipulation at You’s hands, Rollins said. You allegedly threatened to harm herself in order to win Urtula’s compliance during their relationship. She also made efforts to isolate him from his friends and family, the D.A.’s office said in a statement.

You sent Urtula more than 47,000 text messages in the final two months of their relationship, including messages urging him to “go kill yourself” and “go die,” Rollins said.

“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,” Rollins said.

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“The abuse became more frequent, more powerful and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to Mr. Urtula’s death.”

Rollins added that You used her phone to track Urtula to the place where he died by suicide.

The indictment says You was aware of Urtula’s depression, and that she encouraged him to follow through on his suicidal thoughts.

“She created life-threatening conditions for Mr. Urtula that she had a legal duty to alleviate, which she failed to do,” the statement said.

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You is in her home country of South Korea and it’s unclear when she will be arraigned. Prosecutors are negotiating with her lawyer to convince her to return to the U.S. voluntarily to face the charges, Rollins said. The prosecutor will begin extradition proceedings if You does not comply.

You’s counsel has not addressed the charges.

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The incident has drawn comparisons to the case of Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself. Carter used text messages and phone calls to push Roy to suicide in 2014. She was convicted in 2017 and sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Click to play video: 'Teen who convinced boyfriend to kill himself allowed to return home pending appeal' Teen who convinced boyfriend to kill himself allowed to return home pending appeal
Teen who convinced boyfriend to kill himself allowed to return home pending appeal – Aug 4, 2017

Carter’s conviction was upheld in an appeal, and her team is now seeking for the case to be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Carter hails from Massachusetts, the same state where You has been charged.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be struggling with mental health issues.

With files from Reuters and The Associated Press

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