Virginia Commonwealth University Student, 19, Is Found Dead and Fraternity Is Suspended: 'Tragic'

"Adam Oakes was the happiest, most joyful guy that everyone wanted to be around," a GoFundMe page says of the VCU student

Adam Oakes
Adam Oakes. Photo: GoFundMe

A Virginia University has suspended one of its fraternities after officials say a 19-year-old student was found dead over the weekend.

In a statement on Twitter, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) confirmed that Adam Oakes was the student who was found dead at an off-campus residence early Saturday morning.

"VCU mourns the death of student Adam Oakes. This is a tragic loss for Adam's family and members of our community," the university wrote.

Richmond Police Department (RPD) also confirmed his death in a press release, stating that officers were called to a home on West Clay Street around 9:15 a.m.

When they arrived, they found Oakes "down and unresponsive" and pronounced him dead at the scene.

An investigation is currently underway by the RPD's Major Crimes detectives and the VCU Police Department, while the medical examiner works to determine Oakes' cause and manner of death, according to the release.

In the wake of Oakes' death, his family told CBS affiliate WTVR that they believe heavy drinking was involved and that Oakes had recently received a bid to join the Delta Chi fraternity at VCU.

The family also claimed that Oakes was blindfolded at one point and later ended up falling into a tree and hitting his head.

"We don't know if he passed out or was unconscious," Oakes' cousin, Courtney White, explained to WTVR. "We're not sure how he ended up on the couch [at the West Clay Street residence]."

Though police have not confirmed whether Oakes' death was related to heavy drinking or fraternity activity, Delta Chi announced that they were suspending the VCU chapter in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

"We were devastated to learn the death of a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and extend our condolences to the family, friends and everyone touched by this heartbreaking news," the statement reads. "The health and safety of our chapter communities is always a top priority for the Delta Chi Fraternity, which suspended the VCU chapter after learning of the incident late Saturday afternoon."

"We encourage all members to cooperate with law enforcement investigative efforts and all directives of the University Administration," Delta Chi added.

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In VCU's statement on Twitter, university officials confirmed they also "took similar action" and are suspending the Delta Chi fraternity as authorities investigate.

While Oakes' loved ones continue to grieve, they are remembering the 19-year-old.

"He would do anything for anyone that asked," White told WTVR. "Unfortunately, his [life] was cut short before he was able to follow any of his dreams or he was able to do any of the amazing things that other people do: getting married, having kids. Those blessings in life, he'll never have."

His dad, Eric Oakes, added to the outlet: "He was such a good kid. He only wanted to be accepted and he wanted to be friends with people."

A GoFundMe page has been set up by one of Oakes' loved ones in order to assist his family with funeral expenses.

On the page, which has raised over $29,000 in just one day, organizer Max Turner called Oakes "the happiest, most joyful guy that everyone wanted to be around."

"His contentment was infectious. His laugh was one no one will ever forget and it's one I wish I could hear just one more time," Turner wrote. "He will live on in the hearts of all who loved him so dearly. There will truly never be another like him."

Those interested in donating to Oakes' GoFundMe page can so do here.

Anyone with information on the fatal incident is asked to call RPD Major Crimes Detective M. Gouldman at (804) 646-3915 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

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