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8 college students charged after 20-year-old dies from alleged fraternity hazing

Bowling Green student Stone Foltz, 20, died after prosecutors say he drank nearly 20 shots of hard liquor at an alleged fraternity hazing event last month.
/ Source: TODAY

Eight men have been charged in connection with the death of a 20-year-old student, Stone Holtz, at Bowling Green State University in Ohio after he died following an alleged fraternity hazing event last month.

Six of the men, who range in age from 19 to 23, have been charged with manslaughter. Other charges handed down in a grand jury indictment include reckless homicide, hazing and tampering with evidence, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson said at a press conference Wednesday.

Bowling Green student Stone Foltz died after a night of heavy drinking at an alleged fraternity hazing event, prosecutors said.
Bowling Green student Stone Foltz died after a night of heavy drinking at an alleged fraternity hazing event, prosecutors said. Courtesy Foltz family

Prosecutors say Foltz died with a blood-alcohol level more than four times Ohio's legal driving limit after allegedly being forced to drink nearly 20 shots of hard liquor on March 4 as part of a Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity pledge initiation event at an off-campus house.

Foltz was taken home by fraternity members and left alone in his apartment, where his roommate found him unresponsive and called 911, according to prosecutors. He died three days later.

"I want to say this to the people who were at the event — if you do not even attempt to be part of the solution, you may well be identified as part of the problem," Dobson said at the press conference.

A lawyer for one of the men charged, Troy Hendricksen, 23, told NBC News that the facts of the case will exonerate his client. Representatives for the other seven men did not respond to requests for comment.

The attorney for the Foltz family is calling for change in the wake of Foltz's death.

"Kids are dying on college campuses," Rex Elliott told NBC's Gabe Gutierrez. "And if we don't dramatically reform the system, then these young kids are going to continue to lose their lives."

Foltz's parents also released a statement Thursday through their attorney.

"We are living every parent's worst nightmare and will not be at peace until fraternity hazing is seen for what it truly is — abuse," the statement said. "It's unacceptable, and in Stone's case, it was fatal. How many injuries and deaths will it take for people in positions of power to do the right thing?"

The Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at Bowling Green has been temporarily suspended.

"The actions of any individuals found responsible are unacceptable and do not align with Pi Kappa Alpha's values," the national fraternity said in a statement.

Foltz's death brought back painful memories to the parents of Timothy Piazza, who died at 19 in 2017 after a night of drinking at a Penn State fraternity. Jim Piazza pleaded for others to learn from his son's death and take action to prevent further tragedies in a 2017 interview on TODAY.

"Do the right thing," he said. "Understand what happened here. And if ever you're in a situation where somebody needs help, help them."

"I want this to be the only and last time this type of case gets prosecuted in Wood County," Dobson said. "And please God, let it be the last time it's prosecuted in the United States."