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Report: NYC college student died of "head injuries"

Chun "Michael" Deng, 19. CBS New York

Last Updated Dec. 13, 2013 1:15 PM EST

NEW YORK - A medical examiner in Pennsylvania says a Baruch College student died of “closed head injuries due to blunt forced trauma,” reports CBS New York.

The Luzerne County Coroner says they do not yet have a full report on the death of Chun Hsien "Michael" Deng, but prosecutors said they are preparing to file a slew of criminal charges against those who took part in a fraternity ritual that led to his death, according to the station.

The 19-year-old freshman and pledge at Pi Delta Psi died Monday while at a weekend retreat with about 30 fraternity members at a rented house in the Poconos.

Authorities said Deng, one of four pledges, suffered major brain trauma Sunday during an initiation game called “the glass ceiling.”

Police said Deng was blindfolded and wearing a backpack with 20 pounds of sand and then forced to run a human gauntlet while other fraternity members physically tried to keep him from passing through by pushing him to the ground, the station reported.

Deng was left unconscious and unresponsive immediately after he fell with scratches and bruising on his knees, according to an affidavit. Investigators said Deng also had swelling to the back of his head.

Instead of calling 911, prosecutors said Deng’s frat brothers carried him inside and placed him by a fire, searched the Internet for his symptoms and changed his clothes, according to the station.

A source told CBS New York that an hour and a half to two hours went by before Deng was taken to the hospital about 30 miles away. There, Deng’s mother arrived to find her son brain-dead and on life support. He died hours later.

Toxicology and alcohol tests for Deng came back negative. It’s unclear whether any other members of the fraternity were tested for drugs or alcohol at the time.

A police chief in Pennsylvania investigating how the case told the station not everyone who may have been involved is cooperating with authorities.

“Throughout this entire process, it’s taken a long time to figure out what exactly happened because people have not been straightforward with us,” Chief Harry Lewis with the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department said.

Baruch College administrators said the school had no knowledge of the weekend retreat or even that Pi Delta Psi was rushing a pledge class.

Pi Delta Psi said the event was “unsanctioned” and “strictly prohibited by our organization.”

The fraternity is now suspended from Baruch College and the organization has suspended new pledging nationwide while it conducts its own investigation into what happened.


  • Crimesider Staff

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