Parents Call for Justice After 20-Year-Old Son Dies in Alleged Fraternity Hazing Incident
The parents of a 20-year-old college student who died earlier this month after an alleged hazing incident are calling for further action.
Cory and Shari Foltz, whose son Stone died on March 7 following an alleged fraternity hazing event at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, told Good Morning America Wednesday that losing their son was "unimaginable."
"There is a piece of my heart that's gone. It's just unimaginable, I can't even explain to you," Shari said of her son's death.
Stone was hospitalized on March 4 after "alleged hazing activity involving alcohol consumption" at a Pi Kappa Alpha event, the university said in a statement. He was rushed to ProMedica Toledo Hospital where he remained in critical condition for three days before his death.
Shari explained that she and her husband had "many conversations" with their son prior to him pledging the fraternity and she was in contact with him the night of the alleged hazing event.
She told GMA that Stone had told his parents about the drinking ritual that night, telling his mother on the phone, "I have to, but I don't want to."
Shari said she checked in on Stone prior to the ritual, which ended up being her last conversation with her son.
Around midnight, the parents said they received a call that their son became unresponsive after drinking.
"He was found not breathing. They had to revive him and he [was] on a ventilator, keeping him alive," Cory said.
The parents immediately drove two hours to see their son, during which Cory said he held his wife's hand and was "praying in my mind that Stone was going to be OK."
After four nights in the hospital, Stone was declared brain dead, his parents told the outlet.
"So to me, he was forced into something that the outcome is he was murdered," Shari said.
While police have not released how much alcohol Foltz consumed, another pledge's roommate gave an interview to WTOL-TV, saying that it's not uncommon for pledges to be given a staggering amount of alcohol.
"We have to drink a handle of any alcohol that our big gives us," the student told the TV station. "We have to finish the whole thing in the time we're there before we leave." A handle of alcohol is equal to about 40 shots.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.
Shari and Cory are asking that colleges and universities nationwide enforce a zero-tolerance policy for hazing.
"Shut everything down and make the fraternity show that they have a zero-tolerance and there's guidelines you need to follow. Every day that goes by, there's a chance there could be another Stone Foltz out there," Cory said.
"There needs to be harsher punishments," Shari added.
Bowling Green State University has stripped the local chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha of its status as an official student organization. The university says it will work with authorities to investigate the incident.
Stone's mother also said she hopes the other fraternity members with her son that night will "step up" and "take ownership."
"I forgive them. But I won't forget," she said.