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Virginia fraternity suspended after death of 19-year-old student pledge

The announcement from Virginia Commonwealth University came one day after Delta Chi’s national office suspended its Richmond chapter.
Skyline view of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Virginia
A view of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.Jennifer Blount / Getty Images/iStockphoto
/ Source: NBC News

A Virginia university suspended a local fraternity Sunday after a 19-year-old pledge was found dead over the weekend, school officials and relatives said.

The announcement from Virginia Commonwealth University came one day after Delta Chi’s national office suspended its Richmond chapter. The body of Adam Oakes was identified earlier Saturday at an off-campus home, the university said.

“We are heartbroken at the tragic loss of one of our own,” said the school’s president, Michael Rao.

In a statement, the Richmond Police Department said that authorities had been called to an address east of the university after a report of a “person down.” Officers found Oakes unresponsive and pronounced him dead at the scene.

A cause and manner of death has not yet been released.

In a statement, the fraternity’s national office said it was “devastated” to learn of the student’s death and encouraged members to cooperate with the investigation.

The local chapter could not be reached by NBC News on Monday. Its information appeared to have been removed from the fraternity’s website and its Facebook page was down.

Citing Oakes’ relatives, NBC Washington reported that Oakes was to be matched with a fraternity guide, or “big brother,” during a Friday night party.

Friends who were at the party told the family that Oakes appeared to have passed out after a night of heavy drinking. A cousin, Courtney White, told the station that friends found him face down on a couch.

“When they rolled him over, half of his face was purple,” White said. “Half of it was not.”

“We want some answers,” Oakes’ father told the station. “Adam deserves answers.”

In a statement Monday, Oakes’ Loudon County high school said that he had played football for the school and “loved to cheer for our many athletic programs.”

This story first appeared on NBCNews.com.