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Virginia fraternity suspended after death of 19-year-old student’s promise

A Virginia university suspended a local fraternity on Sunday after a 19-year engagement was found dead over the weekend, school officials and relatives said.

The Virginia Commonwealth University announcement came a day after Delta Chi’s national office suspended its Richmond chapter. Adam Oakes’ body was identified earlier Saturday in an off-campus home, the university said.

Adam Oakes, a 19-year-old student at Virginia Commonwealth University, who pledged Delta Chi fraternity.Oakes Family / via NBC Washington

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of one of our own,” said school president Michael Rao.

In a statement, the Richmond Police Department said authorities were called to an address east of the university after a report of a “person on the ground.” Officers found Oakes unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene.

A cause and mode of death have not yet been disclosed.

In a statement, the fellowship’s national office said it was “devastated” to learn of the student’s death and urged members to cooperate with the investigation.

The local chapter could not be reached by NBC News on Monday. Her information appeared to have been removed from the fraternity’s website and her Facebook page was down.

Citing those close to Oakes, NBC Washington reported that Oakes was to be paired with a fraternity guide, or “big brother,” at a Friday night party.

Friends who were at the party told family Oakes appeared to have passed out after a night of heavy drinking. A cousin, Courtney White, told the station friends found him face down on a sofa.

“When they rolled him over, half of his face was purple,” White said. “Half was not.”

“We want answers,” Oakes’ father told the station. “Adam deserves answers.”

In a statement on Monday, Loudon County High School in Oakes said it played football for school and “loved to cheer on our many sports programs.”



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