The death of a college freshman during a hazing ritual on a fraternity trip to the Poconos has been ruled a homicide, according to the coroner.
Baruch College student Chun Hsien "Michael" Deng 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.
The 19-year-old 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.
Deng died the next day of a head injury due to blunt force trauma, the Luzerne County coroner's office 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 Deng 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.
Officials said about 30 Pi Delta Psi members spent that weekend at a home in Tunkhannock Township, Pa., about 100 miles west of New York City.
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.