A fraternity at Virginia Commonwealth University has been suspended after a freshman student was found dead on Saturday, officials said.
Adam Oakes, 19, was found dead at an off-campus residence in Richmond, Va., just after 9 a.m., the university and Richmond police said in separate statements. A cause of death has yet to be determined.
Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin, told FOX 5 DC that the freshman was found dead after a night of hazing at a Delta Chi fraternity rush event. She said he was given a handle of Jack Daniels whiskey and drank the whole container.
White told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Oakes was later blindfolded, which caused him to run into a tree and hit his head. Oakes was then helped into the house, where he fell asleep on his side on a couch. He was found lying face down in the morning and police were called.
Following the incident, the Delta Chi fraternity’s national office issued a cease-and-desist order to the VCU chapter, the university said. VCU said the university also suspended the fraternity chapter.
“We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of one of our own. I offer my heartfelt sympathies to Adam’s loved ones and closest friends,” VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement. “@VCU will continue to work closely with local law enforcement as the investigation develops.”
Oakes graduated from Potomac Falls High School, where he played football and “loved to cheer” at athletic events, the high school said in a statement.
“We will miss your spirit, Adam,” the school said.
Family members described Oakes to local news outlets as an only child who was trying to find his place and make new friends.
“He wanted people to like him and find his niche,” White told the Times-Dispatch. “I think he thought he found them.”
Oakes’ father, Eric, told WTVR that his son’s death has left “a massive hole in his heart.”
“He was such a good kid,” Eric Oakes said. “He only wanted to be accepted and he wanted to be friends with people. He just had such a big heart.”
Police are continuing to investigate and asked anyone with information on the incident to call detectives at (804) 646-3915.
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