Richmond police said Sunday they are investigating the death of a Virginia Commonwealth University student in an off-campus home this weekend. Adam Oakes, 19, was found unconscious by officers called to the residence around 9:15 a.m. Saturday. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a police press release.
Oakes’ family told CBS affiliate WTVR-TV that they had just received an offer to join the Delta Chi fraternity. The family said heavy drinking was involved in the death and that Oakes was blindfolded at one point.
“Sorry, he just couldn’t. I don’t think he could handle it,” said Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin. “He ended up falling out of a tree, hitting his head on a tree. We don’t know if he passed out or was unconscious. We’re not sure how he ended up on the couch.”
VCU police also assisted with the investigation. The coroner will determine how Oakes died, Richmond police said.
“This is a tragic loss for Adam’s family and members of our community,” said VCU. said in a statement on Sunday.
In that same statement on social media, VCU said it had suspended the Delta Chi fraternity. The fraternity’s national office also announced that it had suspended the VCU chapter, media reported.
A spokesperson for the school declined to comment on whether Oakes, who is from Loudoun County, was a member of the fraternity. Alec Cardullo-Munoz, identified by WRIC-TV as Oakes’s roommate, said Oakes received an offer from the fraternity.
“He was such a good kid,” Oakes’s father, Eric Oakes, told WTVR. “I just wanted to be accepted and I wanted to be friends with people.”
A GoFundMe has been established to help the family with funeral expenses.