A former Boston College student has been indicted in connection with the suicide of her boyfriend, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins announced on Monday.
Inyoung You, 21, of South Korea, is facing a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of 22-year-old Alexander Urtula, who was also a student at Boston College.
"The indictment alleges Ms. You's behavior was wanton and reckless and resulted in overwhelming Mr. Urtula's will to live," Rollins said, "and that she created life-threatening conditions for him that she had a legal duty to alleviate."
Urtula allegedly jumped to his death from the Renaissance parking garage in Roxbury around 8:35 a.m. on May 20, just 90 minutes before he was scheduled to walk across the stage at Boston College's commencement. His family had traveled from New Jersey to see him graduate.
"What appeared to be a self-inflicted, horrific tragedy ended up being much more than that," said MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan, who responded to the incident.
You was present at the time of Urtula's death, Rollins said, having tracked his location as she frequently did on her phone. The district attorney said You had urged her boyfriend to take his life thousands of times during their relationship.
"Ms. You was physically, verbally and psychologically abusive toward Mr. Urtula during their 18-month long relationship," Rollins said. "That abuse became more frequent and more powerful and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to Mr. Urtula's untimely death."
The abuse was witnessed by family and classmates of both parties and is documented extensively in text messages and in Urtula's journal entries, she said.
"Students come from around the world to attend our renowned colleges and universities, eager to learn and experience our vibrant city," Rollins said. "Their families and loved ones certainly do not expect them to face unending physical and mental abuse."
"This case is a tragedy, but it's just one example of a systemic epidemic."
In the two months prior to Urtula's death, prosecutors said, the couple exchanged more than 75,000 text messages, 47,000 plus from You alone.
"Many of the messages clearly display the power dynamic in the relationship, wherein Ms. You made demands and threats with the understanding she had complete and total control over Mr. Urtula, both mentally and emotionally. Ms. You used manipulative attempts and threats of self harm to control him," Rollins said.
"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," she added.
You is currently in Korea, Rollins said. Officials are working with her representative and are "cautiously optimistic" that she will voluntarily return to Boston, but if not, they will pursue other avenues in an effort to have her extradited back.
Boston College referred any questions to the district attorney's office, but offered a short remembrance of Urtula, a biology major from Cedar Grove, New Jersey, who was scheduled to receive his diploma this May after completing his course work in January.
"Alexander was a gifted student at Boston College, who was involved in many activities, including the Philippine Society of Boston College. We continue to offer our condolences to Alex's family," a college spokesman said.
You, an economics student, withdrew from classes this August, ahead of her scheduled graduation in May 2020, the spokesman said.
The involuntary manslaughter charge You faces is the same one Michelle Carter was convicted of in 2017 in connection with her boyfriend Conrad Roy III's suicide. Carter began serving her 15-month sentence in February and was denied parole last month.
Carter was 17 when Roy, 18, took his own life in Fairhaven, a town on Massachusetts' south coast in July 2014. Her case garnered international attention and provided a disturbing look at teenage depression and suicide.
Carter and Roy both struggled with depression, and Roy had previously tried to kill himself. Their relationship consisted mostly of texting and other electronic communications.
In dozens of text messages revealed during her sensational trial, Carter pushed Roy to end his life and chastised him when he hesitated. As Roy made excuses to put off his plans, her texts became more insistent.
An attorney who's representing Carter to the U.S. Supreme Court wasn't surprised to see another case like hers emerge.
"There's probably an element in which the Carter case has emboldened prosecutors to pursue these kinds of cases," Daniel Marx told NBC10 Boston.
But prosecutors in the You case said this one is different — she was present for the suicide and allege that it's clear she was responsible.
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.