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Alexander Urtula with his girlfriend, Inyoung You, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in his suicide. Photo: Suffolk County district attorney

Inyoung You, South Korean woman charged in US college boyfriend’s suicide, sent him 47,000 text messages in two months before his death

  • US prosecutors said Inyoung You verbally, physically and psychologically abused Alexander Urtula during their 18-month relationship
  • She has returned to South Korea and prosecutors are exploring options for her to come back to the US

A former Boston College student who had “complete and total control” over her boyfriend has been indicted on an involuntary manslaughter charge for encouraging him to take his own life, Boston’s top prosecutor said.

Inyoung You, 21, was “physically, verbally and psychologically abusive” to fellow Boston College student Alexander Urtula during an 18-month relationship, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said at a news conference on Monday.

You sent Urtula, 22, of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, more than 47,000 text messages in the last two months of the relationship, including many urging him to “go kill yourself” or “go die”, Rollins said. You also tracked Urtula and was nearby when he leapt to his death in Boston on May 20, the day of his Boston College graduation.

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“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.

You isolated Urtula from friends and family and was aware of the depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by her abuse, the district attorney said.

The pair were students at Boston College. Photo: Shutterstock

You is in her native South Korea, and it is unclear when she will be arraigned. Prosecutors were in negotiations with You’s counsel to get her to return to the US voluntarily, but if she does not, Rollins said, she will start extradition proceedings.


One option, she said, could be an Interpol “red notice”, which would alert the international policing organisation’s 194 member nations, including South Korea, of the US warrant for You’s arrest and request that she be detained and extradited.

Representatives who could speak for You could not immediately be located. A spokesman for Rollins said he could not disclose the name of You’s counsel.

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Urtula was a biology major who had completed his course work and was working as a researcher at a hospital in New York at the time of his death, Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said. He was also active in the Philippine Society of Boston College, an organisation of Filipino American students.

You studied economics at Boston College and had been expected to graduate next May but withdrew in August, Dunn said.

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, 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 US Supreme Court, which hasn’t yet decided whether it will take up the case.

Additional reporting by The Washington Post and Reuters

If you, or someone you know, are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services.

In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: S Korean woman charged over boyfriend’s suicide