The death of a Baruch College freshman during a hazing ritual on a fraternity trip to the Poconos has been ruled a homicide, the coroner says.
Chun Hsien "Michael" Deng, 19, died in December after participating in the ritual in which he and other pledges were blindfolded, weighted down with backpacks full of sand and knocked over repeatedly while trying to walk.
Deng was taken to the hospital by Pi Delta Psi fraternity brothers after suffering some kind of injury during the ritual. He had scratches on his hip, a cut on his wrist and bruising on his knees, in addition to massive head trauma. He had no drugs or alcohol in his system.
He died the next day of a head injury due to blunt force trauma, the coroner ruled.
The coroner confirmed Friday that the death had been ruled a homicide, but it was not immediately clear whether charges had been filed. The Monroe County district attorney said last year that charges were coming.
According to a police affidavit, three students who first brought Deng to the hospital initially told police that the group was wrestling in the snow when the 19-year-old fell backwards and hit his head. The group said they brought him inside and laid him by the fire, but he did not wake up.
In later interviews, the story emerged that Deng was actually injured during a fraternity ritual.
After Deng died, the school and fraternity said the group had taken an unapproved trip. The national chapter severed its ties with the Baruch group, and revoked the memberships of its brothers for allegedly violating Pi Delta Psi's values and anti-hazing policy.