Inyoung You Flees U.S. Before Charge Of Involuntary Manslaughter In Suicide Of Her Boyfriend

Photo: Suffolk County District Attorney
Who Is Inyoung You? New Details On Boston College Student Charged In Boyfriend's Graduation Day Suicide

Alexander Urtula was supposed to graduate from Boston College on May 20, 2019. He had finished his coursework the previous winter and was working in New York City but he returned to college to participate in the ceremony. His parents had driven up from New Jersey to see him accept his diploma. 

However, at 8:30 that morning, MBTA officials responded to reports that a man had jumped from the roof of a parking garage in Roxbury. They arrived to find Urtula had committed suicide. His girlfriend, Boston College student Inyoung You, had been present when he died. 

Now the District Attorney's office says that You was the one who drove Urtula to kill himself. Investigators have tens of thousands of texts revealing You had been verbally and emotionally abusing Urtiula for most of their 18-month relationship. Their friends and Urtula's journal confirm You was driving Urtula into a fragile and depressed state. She even encouraged him to kill himself on multiple occasions. A grand jury has indicted her on manslaughter charges and the D.A. is prepared to take her to trial — if she returns to the United States from South Korea.

Who is Inyoung You? Read on for the shocking details.

1. Alexander and Inyoung

Alexander Urtula had finished his courses in biology at Boston University in December and moved to New York to work in a hospital. He remained involved with his girlfriend Inyoung You, an economics student from South Korea, even after he left campus. The couple had been dating for a year before his move and the relationship was not healthy. Friends told investigators they perceived You as abusive toward Urtula. His own journals describe incidents of emotional abuse and manipulation. He was depressed and fragile and entirely under You's control, according to the Washington Post

2. Tracking him to the end

On May 20, the day Urtula was supposed to graduate from Boston College, he went to the top of a parking garage in the Roxbury area of Boston. You used the tracking function on his phone to find him there and followed him to the top of the garage. She was reportedly present when he leaped to his death from the top of the building. When police started investigating what happened before his death they discovered that You was instrumental in driving Urtula to suicide. 

You and Urtula texted constantly. 

3. A damning text record

The couple texted frequently, to say the least. According to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney, they exchanged over 75,000 texts during the two months before Urtula died. Moreover, 47,000 of the texts were from You to Urtula and they were riddled with abuse and manipulation. You encouraged Urtula to kill himself, not once but thousands of times, even texting phrases like "go die" and telling him she and his family would be better off without him  

"The investigation revealed Ms. You used manipulative attempts and threats of self-harm to control Mr. Urtula and isolate him from friends and family," the release reported. "It also found that Ms. You was aware of his spiraling depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by her abuse. Even still, she continued to encourage Mr. Urtula to take his own life."

“Many of the messages clearly display the power dynamic in 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,” District Attorney Rachel Rollins said at a news conference. Rollins remarked that the texts grew “more frequent, more powerful and more demeaning in the days and hours leading up to” Urtula's suicide. 

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4. Like Michelle Carter

This case bears similarities to the suicide of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III in 2014. In the weeks before his death, he and Michelle Carter, who was 17 at the time, exchanged dozens of texts that discussed his suicidal ideations. Carter encouraged Roy to follow through on the impulse to kill himself and assisted him in planning the time and method for his suicide. She continued to text him as he killed himself by sitting in his car as it filled with carbon monoxide. Later, she told an acquaintance that Roy exited the car as it filled with the toxic gas and he called her in fear. She said she ordered him back into the car to finish what he started.

Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 15 months in prison. In July, HBO aired a documentary about her case called I Love You Now Die.

Urtula died by suicide.

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5. One key difference

While there are similarities between this case and that of Carter, there are also some significant differences, the website Boston.com notes. You and Urtula were in an established romantic relationship and the dynamics of it were well defined. Their family and classmates saw them together and classmates can verify that You was abusive to Urtula. Carter and Roy were seldom physically together and their relationship status was ambiguous. You's influence over Urtula was arguably more potent than Carter's influence over Roy. 

Rollins says that You was fully aware of the control she had over Urtula. “We have — quite frankly, I would say — the opposite of that,” Rollins said. “We have a barrage of a complete and utter attack on this man’s very will and conscious and psyche by an individual to the tune of the 47,000 text messages in the two months leading up and an awareness, we would argue, of his frail state at that point.”

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6. Charged in his death

Like Carter, You is being held criminally liable for Urtula's suicide. The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office announced that a grand jury indicted You for involuntary manslaughter for her role in his death. The D.A. says more details will be forthcoming at You's arraignment — when it finally happens. You dropped out of Boston College and went back to South Korea over the summer. The D.A.'s office has been in touch with someone representing You and they say they are hopeful that she will return to the U.S. voluntarily. If she does not, there are various options for her extradition, including an Interpol red notice that lets all Interpol countries know she has an outstanding warrant in the United States, according to the Washington Post

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7. This is domestic violence

The fact that You is a woman and Urtula was a man should not cloud the fact that this was a case of domestic abuse. You's actions in this relationship appear to constitute emotional abuse of her partner. “Domestic violence is not perpetrated by one type of abuser; a perpetrator is not limited by their gender, or the gender of their partner,” Rollins cautions. “Domestic violence may not always look the same, but it’s always about power and control.”

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can visit the Domestic Violence hotline website or call 1-800-799-7233. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.