Suffolk County District Attorney
Alexander Urtula was all set to graduate from Boston College at 10 a.m. on May 20. The 22-year-old was an exemplary student, a biology major and a member of the school’s Philippine Society, and his parents were in town from New Jersey to watch him receive his diploma. But just hours before the ceremony, Urtula leapt to his death from the top floor of a parking garage in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood.
According to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, his girlfriend of 18 months, 21-year-old Inyoung You, has been indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter over his suicide. She was “physically, verbally and psychologically abusive” towards Urtula, according to the DA’s office, and repeatedly told him to “go kill himself” and to “go die.” The abuse, which has allegedly been documented in their more than 75,000 text messages, became “more frequent, more powerful and more demeaning” in the hours leading up to his death. You, a fellow Boston College student from South Korea, had tracked Urtula’s location on her phone, and was there when he jumped.
According to the DA’s press release, an investigation revealed that You knew about her boyfriend’s “spiraling depression and suicidal thoughts” brought on by the texts—still, she wrote him and encouraged him to die.
“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,” Rachael Rollins, the district attorney, said during a press conference on Monday. You urged Urtula to kill himself hundreds, maybe thousands, of times, Rollins said, telling him that the world would be a better place without him.
You was studying economics at Boston College, a school spokesperson told The Washington Post, but withdrew from classes in August. She’s now back in South Korea. Rollins said they will “utilize the power we have to get her back,” including by extradition, if she does not voluntarily return.
The case has drawn comparisons to the Michelle Carter texting incident from 2014. In the weeks leading up to 18-year-old Conrad Roy’s suicide, he exchanged several texts with his 17-year-old long-distance girlfriend, Carter, who also encouraged him to kill himself. “You keep pushing it off and say you’ll do it but u never do. It’s always gonna be that way if u don’t take action,” she reportedly texted him on the day he died. Carter was sentenced to 15 months in jail for her role in Roy’s death.
Rollins said Monday that You’s case is distinct in that she waged “a complete and utter attack on this man’s will and conscience and psyche.”