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Authorities Issue 22 Arrest Warrants over NIU Frat Hazing Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(DEKALB, Ill.) -- Authorities in Dekalb, Ill., have issued 22 warrants for the arrest of students at Northern Illinois University for violating the state's hazing statute in connection with the November death of a freshman at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house.

David Bogenberger, 19, died on Nov. 2 of a cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a significant condition contributing to death, at an unsanctioned party, the Dekalb Police Department said.  At the time of his death, Bogenberger's alcohol level was at five times the legal limit, according to the DeKalb County Coroner's Office.

Lt. Jason Leverton with the DeKalb Police Department told ABC News that two of the students charged voluntarily turned themselves in Tuesday night, and are now out on bond.

"What we did is reach out by phone, let them know charges were filed and gave them the opportunity to turn themselves in," Leverton said.  "We'll check back in a few days, wherever they are."

Warrants for class 4 felony hazing were issued to five of the fraternity's leaders, including the president and vice president, while 17 members of the fraternity, who according to police "are the individuals that actively participated in the provision of alcohol," were issued arrest warrants for class A misdemeanor hazing.

Leverton said that the school shut down the fraternity after Bogenberger's death, though some of those who have been issued warrants may still reside at the privately-owned house.  He said that, as far as he knows, the students are still attending NIU, but as of the weekend, many have left for holiday break.

On Nov. 2, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity held a party called the "parent's night," which involved the assignment of "Greek dads and moms" to students pledging the frat, police said.  The Greek dads are upper classmen in the fraternity that serve as mentors to the pledges, while the Greek moms are members of associated sororities.

The "parent's night" involved the pledges rotating between several rooms in the fraternity house, being asked a series of questions, and then being provided cups of vodka and other liquor to drink.  This resulted in the pledges drinking a large quantity of alcohol in about a two-hour time period.

"[Bogenberger] was friendly, he was gregarious, he liked to be liked, he wanted to be accepted and the terms that were placed on his acceptance into this fraternity were ultimately fatal to David," Peter Coladarci, the attorney for the Bogenberger family said.  "It's a national problem.  Over 1,800 kids between 18 and 24 die every year, alcohol and unintended alcohol-related incidents, many of them hazing related."

Pail Palian, director of media and public relations for NIU, said that the school is investigating the incident separately from the police.

"We placed the fraternity with temporary sanctions, which [included] the temporary loss of student organization recognition," he said.  "That did not allow the frat house to conduct any business."

On Dec. 7, the university delivered the fraternity notification that 31 members of the frat, or those seeking membership, were in violation of the student code of conduct.  Palian said the school is cooperating with the local police, and that if they receive more information based on the police investigation, they will alter some of the cases that students are facing, on a case by case basis.

Gary and Ruth Bogenberger released a statement in conjunction with the issuing of the arrest warrants.

"[We] must acknowledge the concern we feel for the families of those charged today.  The events of Nov. 1 and 2 unalterably changed the course of too many lives.  And for what?" they said in the statement.  "We have no desire for revenge.  Rather, we hope that some significant change will come from David's death."

The five students facing felony charges could get one to three years in prison, if convicted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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