18-year-old student's questionable death leads to investigation among fraternity

A freshman in Irvine, California, was found dead over the weekend following a party the previous night which led to the investigation and suspension of a fraternity.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity held a party at an off-campus home on Friday night, which 18-year-old Noah attended. 

Friends and family suspect the tragedy is linked to the consumption of too much alcohol, but the Orange County coroner is still awaiting toxicology reports to officially determine the cause of death.

Initially from La Crescenta, Noah followed his sister, who is one year his senior, Brianna to UC Irvine where he chose to major in biology and join Greek life, the same as she did.

Dale Domingo, Noah’s father, said:

“As a family, we’re hurting, but we’re also concerned — could it have been prevented? Is there something we, as a family, can do to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again?”

Because the tragic night is under investigation, UC Irvine officials are unable to release any details surrounding Dale’s death. 

According to the UC Irvine student affairs Vice Chancellor, Edgar J. Dormitorio, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity got suspended to cease all activity immediately.

The fraternity had their winter rush last week and had activities scheduled throughout to recruit new members, to which Noah showed interest.

Noah attended the party at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brother’s house with Ryan Lee. 19-year-old Ryan is also a fraternity brother but left the party early while Noah stayed behind.

At about 9:30 am on Saturday police found Noah in a bed, in the Turtle Rock home. Noah was unresponsive, and officials declared him dead at the scene.

Chief executive officer of the national chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Mike Sophir, expressed his sorrow over the weekend’s incident and said

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, and we appreciate the support the university and its staff have provided to students in this difficult time.”

Alcohol abuse is increasingly becoming more of a problem. Considered to be one of the most harmful substances it is responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths worldwide.

Shockingly, alcohol overdose has become fairly common as six people are said to die from alcohol poisoning in the United States every day.

Recognizing the warning signs associated with alcohol-related overdose include cold or clammy skin, slow and irregular breathing, seizures, vomiting, loss of consciousness, extreme confusion and very low body temperature.

Any person displaying these symptoms should seek medical help immediately. 

Doctors warn that an alcohol overdose requires medical intervention and that the traditional remedies like eating food, drinking coffee or taking cold showers won't work. Waiting before seeking help can be a deadly mistake. 

Accidental overdoses can also occur via other means, and as overall drug use among youngsters increase, it's becoming a growing concern.

On November 3, 2018, Gunner Bundrick and Jake Morales, both 19, got together at Gunner’s house to enjoy a night of pizza and video games. 

But all ended in tragedy when Gunner’s mother and sisters found the boys dead the following morning.

The boys had taken tablets from a container that was labeled ‘Percocet.’ But after studying the compounds, it was found to contain more than 50% fentanyl mixed with the painkiller Percocet. On its own Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and paracetamol.

The medical examiner concluded that the boys died because of an overdose of fentanyl and 4-ANPP mixed with Percocet.

Many reasons can be argued as to what the contributing factors are in tragedies like these, but while it is a monumental issue to tackle, there are still things that anyone can do. 

Being aware of what goes on around one and being alert to the danger signs of an overdose could save someone’s life.

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