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Death of Baruch College fraternity member ruled homicide

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  • Charges expected in fraternity ritual death of Baruch College student

    Charges expected in fraternity ritual death of Baruch College student

    Thursday, December 12 2013 3:27 PM EST2013-12-12 20:27:37 GMT
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WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) -- The death of a New York City college student in what authorities have called a fraternity ritual has been ruled a homicide, a Pennsylvania coroner said Friday.

The Luzerne County coroner's office referred all other inquiries about the Dec. 8 death of Baruch College freshman Chun "Michael" Deng to police.

Authorities allege that Deng sustained a fatal brain injury after participating in an initiation ritual in the winter snow with three other pledges at a home in Tunkhannock Township, Pa., about 100 miles west of New York City in the Pocono Mountains.

Blindfolded and wearing a backpack containing 20 pounds of sand, Deng's objective was to make it to a certain member without being tackled by other members of Pi Delta Psi, according to authorities. But Deng was shoved, apparently fell and struck his head, Pocono Mountain Regional Police wrote in an affidavit.

The affidavit alleged that instead of calling 911, fraternity members took Deng inside, changed his clothes and conducted Google searches about his symptoms before taking him to the closest hospital, where he died the next day. While they were at the hospital, one brother called back to the house to tell the members to dispose of "all fraternity memorabilia and items," the affidavit alleged.

Monroe County District Attorney David Christine has said he plans to file criminal charges.

About 30 fraternity members spent that weekend at a home where Deng was hurt. Police also said they recovered suspected marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms at the house.

UPDATE: Baruch College issued this statement Friday afternoon:

Baruch College supports the ongoing efforts of Monroe County law enforcement to hold responsible those involved in the tragic death of Baruch student Michael Deng; a deeply painful reminder that no individual should ever be placed in a position where his or her personal safety is in jeopardy. Along with its own internal review, which is ongoing, Baruch is continuing to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities as this matter is investigated. Baruch continues to extend its deepest sympathies and support to Michael's family and friends, both at the College and at home.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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