RICHMOND, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - Adam Oakes, 19, of Sterling, died at an off-campus fraternity house at Virginia Commonwealth University on Saturday after what his family has described as a rush event where the teen reportedly drank a large quantity of alcohol.
Richmond Police and VCU Police are investigating Oakes' death, while VCU has announced it suspended the campus chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity.
Oakes' father Eric told FOX 5 his son was in the process of joining the fraternity to meet friends during the course of an abnormal freshman year as a result of the pandemic.
"Adam was an awesome boy. He loved life. He was the kindest kid. He was really just one of those guys once you were around him you just felt the love," said Eric Oakes.
Oakes' cousin Courtney White says the family has learned officials found Oakes unresponsive early Saturday after a night of alleged hazing.
"It was a handle of Jack Daniels that Adam was handed over and mixed with something. By 10, 10:30, it was said Adam was done with it. He had drank the whole thing," White said.
Richmond Police were unable to confirm the connection to possible hazing, but Oakes' family said they got that information from witnesses and police.
"Someone needs to be held accountable and more than just suspending from campus. You know we don't want to ruin anybody's lives, but Adam doesn't have a life," said White.
Oakes’ family told FOX 5's Sierra Fox on Monday that the medical examiner says there was no trauma to the head and now they are waiting for the toxicology report.
Oakes graduated from Potomac Falls High School in Sterling where he played football.
Delta Chi Headquarters released the following statement:
"We were devastated to learn of the death of a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and extend our condolences to the family, friends and everyone touched by this heart-breaking news. The health and safety of our chapter communities is always a top priority for the Delta chi Fraternity, which suspected the VCO chapter after learning of the incident late Saturday afternoon. We encourage all members to cooperate with law enforcement investigative efforts and all directive of the University Administration."
Oakes' alma mater posted a statement on its Twitter account on Monday: