Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Radford U TKE Pledge Dies of Alcohol Consumption

RU student found dead was drinking at fraternity party, witnesses say

By Shawna Morrison

A Radford University student who was found dead Friday had attended a fraternity party the night before, where witnesses told police he was drinking liquor, according to search warrant affidavits filed in Radford Circuit Court.

Samuel Mason, 20, of Chesterfield County was found dead about noon Friday in a home on Fairfax Street, police have said.

According to one of two search warrant affidavits, Mason had attended a party at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house on Calhoun Street Thursday night and into early Friday morning. At the party, a detective said in the affidavit, Mason was seen consuming a bottle of liquor.

Mason's mother, the affidavit says, said he was pledging the fraternity and that the party may have been a part of the pledging process.

Mason's friends walked him to the home in the 1100 block of Fairfax Street and put him in bed "to sleep off the intoxication," the affidavit says.

Police filed the affidavits to obtain warrants to search Mason's room at his home on Downey Street and the Calhoun Street home for receipts for the purchase of alcohol, documentation of people who attended the party, the names of men pledging the fraternity, the name of Mason's big brother and pledge activities.

A list of items taken has not yet been filed.

Radford police Det. Lt. Andy Wilburn said today that police have not been able to verify whether the party Mason attended was part of a pledging process.

He said police will not be able to say exactly how Mason died until a medical examiner's report is complete. It usually takes about six weeks for the results of a person's toxicology report to be returned, Wilburn said. That report will tell police whether alcohol was a factor in Mason's death. No foul play is suspected, he said.

Police also don't know how long Mason had been in the room on Fairfax Street before he was found dead.

"We're trying to talk to as many people as we can who saw him in the hours before he died," Wilburn said.