A 21-year-old former Boston College student, Inyoung You, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the suicide of her boyfriend in May.
Prosecutors said that the female student’s behavior was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive during the 18-month relationship and ultimately drove her boyfriend, 22-year-old Alexander Urtula, to kill himself.
Urtula was a biology student at Boston College and a research assistant at a New York hospital; he died by suicide on May 20 just 90 minutes before the start of his graduation ceremony.
He is described to have been a gifted student who was involved in many activities and an active member of the Philippine Society of Boston College, according to Joy Moore, interim vice president for student affairs.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins told reporters, ”[The investigation] also determined that abuse became more frequent and more powerful and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to Mr. Urtula’s untimely death.”
According to BuzzFeed News, You is expected to be arraigned at a later date and has not yet retained legal counsel.
The former economics student, who is originally from South Korea, was scheduled to graduate in 2020, according to her now-deleted LinkedIn profile but has since dropped out of the college and has returned to Korea.
Prosecutors have stated that if You does not surrender voluntarily to authorities, she could be extradited to the U.S. where she could face up to 20 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors have revealed that over 75,000 text messages were exchanged between You and Urtula during the two months prior to his death, with thousands of messages from You telling him to “go kill himself” and “go die,” according to Rollins.
The abusive nature of their relationship was allegedly witnessed by their friends and classmates and documented in the text messages as well as Urtula’s journal entries.
“In the two months prior to his May 20 death, the couple exchanged more than 75,000 text messages, of which Ms. You sent more than 47,000,” the district attorney’s office has stated. “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.”
You is said to have manipulated Urtula in an effort to isolate him from others and repeatedly encouraged him to take his own life despite being aware of his struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts due to her abuse.
On the morning of his death, she allegedly tracked Urtula’s location using his phone, which she has frequently done in the past and was present when he jumped to his death at the Renaissance Park Garage in Roxbury.
This case has been compared to another Massachusetts suicide for which a young woman was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Michelle Carter was accused of abusive behaviors and encouraging her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to commit suicide.
In a statement, Rollins’ office said, “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.”
Featured Images via Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office