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 hold 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.