11 charged in connection with fraternity-related death of Virginia university student

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Adam Oakes, 19, of Loudoun County, died in an incident linked to the fraternity. (Photo from Oakes’ family)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Eight people have been arrested and three others indicted after an investigation into the death of a freshman student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Adam Oakes, 19, attended a Delta Chi fraternity rush off-campus event in February where he died from alcohol poisoning.

All eight who were arrested Friday face charges of unlawful hazing of a student. Three of them face an additional charge of buying and giving alcohol to a minor. The group is made up of VCU students, and seven of them were enrolled in the fall 2021 semester, according to a statement from the university.

Three remaining others are expected to turn themselves in soon. The men range in age from 19 to 22. The arrests come after a months-long investigation into Oakes’s death.

His family says he was forced to drink an entire bottle of whiskey. Oakes was found unresponsive on a fraternity couch the next morning by Richmond police.

The Oakes family told NewsNation that they are grateful for the work of police and prosecutors, but in Virginia, hazing remains a misdemeanor, which holds a maximum punishment of one year in jail.

“For literally giving someone so much alcohol that they die is a misdemeanor,” said Courtney White, Oakes’s cousin.

The Oakes family continues to push for stricter hazing laws. VCU permanently expelled Delta Chi from campus back in May.

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