Central Lake man released from North Korean prison

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

CENTRAL LAKE – The U.S. State Department announced late last week that an American national from Central Lake has been released from a North Korea prison. 

Bruce Byron Lowrance, 60, who for the last several years had lived with his parents at their home outside of Central Lake, had been held in a North Korea prison since Oct. 16, when he was arrested after illegally crossing the border into North Korea from China, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

The news agency said Friday that Lowrance told North Korea investigators that he was under the "manipulation" of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

He is believed to be the same person who was deported by South Korea a year ago after being caught wandering near the mine-strewn border with North Korea, looking for a way to cross over.

In November of last year, according to the State Department in Washington, D.C., South Korea said a man matching Lowrance's name was caught in an area just south of the Demilitarized Zone without approval. The man later told South Korean investigators that he believed his trip to North Korea would resolve tensions between Washington and Pyongyang created over the death of Otto Warmbier, an American university student who died last year only days after being released from North Korea in a coma.

Lowrance, who is believed to be single, appears to have been estranged from his family, who did not wish to comment over the weekend about the current situation.

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