Eight people were arrested and three others indicted on Friday after an investigation into the death of Adam Oakes, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University who died in February from alcohol poisoning at a fraternity party, the authorities said.
All eight who were arrested face charges of unlawful hazing of a student, the Richmond, Va., police said in a statement. Three of them face an additional charge of buying and giving alcohol to a minor.
According to Mr. Oakes’s family, the young man’s death, which drew national attention and renewed questions about hazing in Greek organizations across the country, occurred at an off-campus party on Feb. 26 at the Delta Chi fraternity house, where he was given a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and told to drink it.
Mr. Oakes, 19, was found dead the next morning by Richmond police officers, the authorities said.
Courtney White, Mr. Oakes’s cousin, said on Saturday that while the family was feeling “a little bit of relief” because the case was moving forward, it was still painful to know that nothing, including the charges, was “going to bring him back.”
said on Facebook that they were “grateful for some measure of justice these charges and arrests may produce, as well as the protection from hazing they may give young, impressionable college students.”
“The past 7 months have been agonizing for our family,” they wrote. “This is the first time these young men have been held accountable for their historically toxic and destructive traditions, manipulation of the VCU disciplinary systems, and for Adam’s death.”
The Richmond Police Department did not say whether those charged were students at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the university did not immediately respond to questions on Saturday. But Mr. Oakes’s family said that all of those arrested were current or former students at the university.
The police named those arrested as Benjamin J. Corado, Quinn A. Kuby, Riley K. McDaniel, Alessandro Medina-Villanueva, Jason B. Mulgrew, Christian G. Rohrbach, Colin G. Tran and Enayat W. Sheikhzad. They range in age from 19 to 22.
website for Delta Chi listed Mr. Corado, Mr. Kuby, Mr. Medina-Villanueva, Mr. Mulgrew, Mr. Rohrbach and Mr. Tran as part of the V.C.U. chapter’s leadership team.
The university said in a statement that “V.C.U. continues to mourn the tragic death of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police Department for its investigation.”
“V.C.U. is dedicated to continuing its efforts, announced this summer, to promote a safe and welcoming fraternity and sorority life culture for all,” the university said.
V.C.U. permanently expelled Delta Chi from campus in May, after it hired a consulting firm to study its Greek culture. The firm, Dyad Strategies, announced in an August report that while the university wasn’t an outlier compared with other colleges’ Greek organizations, it still struggled to address concerns about binge drinking and hazing.
Seven of those arrested were taken into custody by the Virginia Commonwealth University Police and are being held without bond at the Richmond Justice Center. Mr. Sheikhzad was arrested by the Virginia State Police and was released on bond. The remaining three are expected to turn themselves in soon, but their names have not been released, the Richmond police said in their statement.
Fraternity organizations have been under intense scrutiny in recent years, following high-profile cases that have drawn the ire of anti-hazing activists and victims’ loved ones who say that the culture of Greek life is dangerous and shrouded in secrecy. In 2017, Timothy Piazza, a student at Penn State University, died after he became drunk, fell and was left overnight by fraternity members who knew he needed help but failed to seek it.