The death of a Loudoun County, Virginia, native and student at Virginia Commonwealth University on Saturday has prompted an investigation into one of the university’s fraternities.
Adam Oakes, a 19-year-old freshman at VCU, was identified by police at an off-campus residence early Saturday morning, the university said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.
A cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but VCU said its chapter of Delta Chi was issued a cease-and-desist order on Saturday from both the fraternity’s national office and from the university itself while Richmond and VCU police conduct their investigation.
VCU mourns the death of student Adam Oakes.
This is a tragic loss for Adam’s family and members of our community and we encourage any students in need of support to contact University Counseling Services at (804) 828-6200. pic.twitter.com/WiroQSQDpy
— VCU (@VCU) February 28, 2021
In its own statement, Delta Chi’s national office said, “We were devastated to learn of the death of a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and extend our condolences to the family, friends, and everyone touched by this heart-breaking news.”
Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch on Sunday that Oakes was at a fraternity event where he was given a bottle of Whiskey, told to drink it, then was blindfolded. White said that Oakes then ran into a tree and hit his head.
He was found unresponsive Saturday morning. According to police, a medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
A GoFundMe was created to help off-set funeral costs for Oakes’ family. So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $20,000.
The GoFundMe said that Oakes was the “happiest, most joyful guy” and that his “contentment was infectious.”
“He will live on in the hearts of all who loved him so dearly,” the GoFundMe said. “There will truly never be another like him.”
The VCU statement asked anyone with information to call Richmond police at 804-646-3915 or VCU police at 804-828-1196.
Oakes’ family talked with WTOP’s news partner, NBC Washington:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.