RICHMOND, Va. -- Ethanol toxicity, more commonly known as alcohol poisoning, killed VCU freshman Adam Oakes, according to Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The manner of death was ruled as accidental.
Oakes’ parents said Adam died after he received a bid to join the Delta Chi fraternity.
Oakes, 19, had attended a fraternity event hours before his body was discovered at a home on West Clay Street in February 2021.
His family said hazing played a role in his death and that he was told to drink a large bottle of whiskey.
"We are grateful for the thorough work completed on the part of the medical examiner's office in identifying ethanol toxicity, or alcohol poisoning, as Adam's cause of death," Oakes' family said in an emailed statement about the development. "At this time, receiving the results feels similar to ripping a band-aid off an open wound. We are all mourning his loss again as if it just happened yesterday. Even though the results are unsurprising, it does not make it any easier to hear."
The statement continued by placing responsibility for Oakes' death on the fraternity and Greek system as a whole.
"We ask that you not forget [Adam] was a 19-year-old kid looking for acceptance and friends," the statement continued. "He had an amazing heart, a kind spirit, and the absolute best bear hug."
Richmond Police continue to investigate Oakes' death. A VCU spokesperson said a report from its Division of Student Affairs recommended the Delta Chi chapter be expelled if it was found responsible for misconduct associated with Oakes' death. That process was expected to be completed this summer.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.