A California father believes his 18-year-old son’s alcohol-related death was the result of a fraternity hazing ritual. The Orange County coroner’s office said Monday, Noah Domingo died from accidental alcohol poisoning.
Noah’s blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit, reports CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas. The UC Irvine freshman was found unresponsive after a party in January. His father said Noah was taking part in a dangerous and longstanding fraternity ritual. His death has already prompted Sigma Alpha Epsilon to close its chapter at UC Irvine indefinitely.
In a statement to CBS News, Dale Domingo said, “We have discovered the horrifying truth about fraternity hazing.” He contends the fraternity was conducting its “big brother night” ritual where “Noah was compelled to guzzle a so-called ‘family drink’ to become part of his big brother’s family.” He said, “It is why fraternities openly refer to this type of ritual as being one of the ‘deadly nights.'”
Authorities said Domingo died at about 3:30 in the morning, but the initial 911 call was some six hours later. The person who called 911 told the operator “he just drank, he just drank too much.”
Disputing the account in the 911 call, Noah’s father said his son did not just drink too much. He said experts call such victim-blaming “tortured rationalizations.”
Authorities are still investigating the circumstances leading to Domingo’s death and have not confirmed that hazing played a role.
In a statement, the university offered its “deepest sympathies to the Domingo family” and said “his death brings an urgent focus on alcohol and substance abuse.”
The focus on fraternity hazing has intensified in recent years with the deaths of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza and Florida State University fraternity member Andrew Coffey.
Just like other families impacted by college drinking deaths, Noah’s father said he will honor his son by doing everything he can to end hazing by fraternities and their members.
CBS News reached out to Sigma Alpha Epsilon regarding the confirmation of Domingo’s cause of death, but have not heard back.
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