Cousin: VCU student who died was at fraternity hazing event

March 1, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The cousin of a Virginia Commonwealth University student who died says that he had attended a fraternity event that involved drinking alcohol and being blindfolded.

Courtney White is the cousin of Adam Oakes. She told The Richmond Times-Dispatch on Sunday that Oakes had been at an off-campus residence following a night of hazing as part of the Delta Chi fraternity.

White said Oakes was given a bottle of whiskey and told to drink it. She also said that he was then blindfolded, which caused him to run into a tree and hit his head.

She said he was helped into the house, where he laid down on a couch. He was found unresponsive the next morning.

White said she has spoken with police and people who attended the event. Police, school officials and the fraternity’s national representatives said they were unable to confirm or deny the details of White’s account.

He was declared dead at the scene, according to a Richmond police news release. The medical examiner will determine how Oakes died.

The university has said it had suspended Delta Chi fraternity. The fraternity’s national office also said it had suspended the VCU chapter, media outlets reported.

Oakes was from Loudoun County.