North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Tuesday.
But the parents of the 22-year old American college student say their son is in a coma and was on a Medivac flight on his way home.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement to The Associated Press that they have been told their son has been in a coma since March 2016, but they had just learned about his condition only one week ago.
"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime in North Korea," they said.
Warmbier was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.
His release comes as former NBA player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang.
Tillerson said, "At the direction of the president, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea. Mr. Warmbier is en route to the U.S. where he will be reunited with his family."
The statement offered no other details and made no mention of Rodman's visit.
But it noted that the State Department is continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of other American citizens who are jailed there. Rodman had said he did not plan to raise the issue of the fate of the Americans while he was in North Korea.
The statement said the department would have no further comment on Warmbier, citing privacy concerns.
Sources tell CBN News, Warmbier contracted botulism and North Korea wanted him out of the country for medical issues.
In March 2016, North Korea's highest court sentenced Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion as he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.
Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate, was convicted and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea's Supreme Court.
The U.S. government condemned the sentence and accused North Korea of using such American detainees as political pawns.