Source: Evidence at Ettrick business linked to search for VSU students

Posted at 10:43 PM, Apr 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-23 09:25:33-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- For the third night Monday, divers suspended a search of the Appomattox River because of nightfall.

But before doing so they were able to recover the body of one of the two missing VSU freshmen from the cold and murky Appomattox River. And at the same time investigators were getting a clearer picture of why the students took the deadly plunge.

Detectives and forensic officers rifled through an Ettrick business Monday afternoon, with sources telling me evidence found here was linked to the river search for the two Virginia State freshman.

A search with sonar in the river and a chopper above helped divers make one late afternoon recovery,

"As of 4:05 p.m. Chesterfield divers did locate the body of an individual on the river," said Lt. Jason Elmore of the Chesterfield Fire Dept.

Chesterfield divers have been looking for the two freshman since early Saturday. Two survivors of the late-night river plunge told CBS-6 Jawaun Holmes and Marvell Edmonson were swept away by a fast current, after being told by fraternity leaders that they could walk across the river.

But those “leaders” are part of a non-sanctioned fraternity.

"It's not sponsored by the university, after they told us it was,” said VSU student Christian Cavazos. “They had us sign this VSU application thing. it seemed like we were doing it for the school."

Seven pledgers took part in the hazing, according to Cavazos. He says their initiation was supposed to be celebrated at a “Men of Honor” pajama jam Saturday night. The contact number on the flyer comes from the Mac Grill, one of three businesses searched by police.

“The organization they were pledging, isn't even part of the school,” said Moe Singletary, a freshman at VSU. “That's why everyone is upset."

A couple dozen VSU students were seen at the search site, many grieving openly, knowing what once was a rescue operation is now in the recovery phase.

Nearby fisherman says they're lucky it wasn’t worse.

"They went in that water at night? They're lucky any of them got out," said Jesse Johnson, who said he’s fished the Appomattox for many years.

Chesterfield divers will launch the boats again Tuesday morning. Police continue to assist in the investigation, saying there could be criminal charges.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for the latest updates from our team of experienced reporters.