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Girlfriend Indicted in Boston College Student’s Suicide: What We Know

Boston College student Inyoung You allegedly verbally abused boyfriend Alexander Urtula and urged him to take his own life

A Boston College student faces an involuntary manslaughter charge after she allegedly urged her boyfriend to kill himself just hours before he was set to graduate.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced the disturbing indictment in a press conference in October of 2019.

Here's what we know:

The Victim

Alexander Urtula, 22, was a biology major at Boston College who completed his course work in December. He worked as a researcher in New York and was set to walk the stage at the university’s commencement on May 20 before his death.

A Cedar Grove, New Jersey native, Urtula was described as a “gifted student at Boston College, who was involved in many activities, including the Philippine Society of Boston College,” according to the university.

The Defendant

Inyoung You, 21, of South Korea, was an economics major at Boston College before withdrawing from classes in August. She was in a relationship with Urtula for 18 months before his death, which happened just 90 minutes before he was set to graduate.

Rollins said You was “physically, verbally and psychologically abusive toward Mr. Urtula” throughout their relationship. 

You has denied the charge, releasing text messages through a public relations firm suggesting she tried to stop Urtula and alerted Urtula's brother in the moments before his death.

"IF U [expletive] LOVE ME STOP," she said in one of the texts, in response to a text from Urtula saying he was going to kill himself. "IF U EVER [expletive] LOVED ME STOP."

The Power Dynamic

According to Rollins, an investigation into the death of Urtula determined that You became increasingly abusive toward her boyfriend in the days leading up to his death. The defendant “created life-threatening conditions for him that she had a legal duty to alleviate,” the Suffolk County District Attorney said.

During her arraignment, prosecutors said You became upset when she found out Urtula had been communicating with an ex-girlfriend. They said that You also threatened to harm herself and that Urtula was afraid to leave her.

Rollins said the abuse was witnessed by family and classmates of both parties and was also documented in the victim’s journal entries.

Text messages between the couple also documented the imbalance in the couple’s power dynamic, with You understanding she had “complete and total control over Mr. Urtula, both mentally and emotionally,” Rollins said. The defendant used threats of self-harm and manipulation to control the victim.

In the 75,000 text messages between the couple in the months before his death — more than 47,000 of those from You — the defendant repeatedly told Urtula to “go die” or to “go kill himself,” Rollins said. The texts said that she, his family and the world would be better off without him.

"She was aware of his spiraling depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by her abuse, yet she persisted, continuing to encourage him to take his own life," Rollins said.

In addition to the demeaning words, You allegedly isolated Urtula from his loved ones and frequently tracked his location on her phone.

The Tragedy

On the morning of what would have been Urtula’s graduation, You tracked her boyfriend’s location to the Renaissance parking garage in Roxbury. She was present when the 22-year-old leapt to his death from the structure around 8:35 a.m.

His family had traveled from New Jersey to watch Urtula graduate, but were instead greeted with a tragedy.

Urtula's relatives say they are devastated by the death and won't be commenting on the proceedings.

The Aftermath

You returned from South Korea to face arraignment on Nov. 22. She pleaded not guilty and was taken into custody in handcuffs after the judge set her bail at $5,000, which her lawyer said she would pay immediately. She was also ordered to surrender her passport.

Her trial date is set for November 2020.

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting 'Home' to 741741. If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

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