New Hampshire

Fraternity Suspended Amid Investigation Into UNH Student's Death

The circumstances surrounding the death of Lirosi, from Whitman, Massachusetts, are still unknown

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The sudden death of 22-year-old Vincenzo "Vinny" Lirosi left the University of New Hampshire shaken over the weekend.

The circumstances surrounding the death of Lirosi, from Whitman, Massachusetts, are still unknown. But the recent news of the suspension of fraternity Sigma Chi raises new questions over what happened the night Lirosi disappeared.

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Here is what we know so far:

When did Lirosi go missing?

Lirosi went out drinking with his friends on Friday night and was last seen walking home around 1 a.m. It was believed that he took a path through a wooded area as a shortcut to Woodman Road, where he lives.

His friends reported him missing at 3 a.m. Saturday morning.

Search comes to an end

The search for Lirosi started Saturday and continued into Sunday. Durham police asked for the public's help on Saturday in locating him. Numerous agencies were involved in the weekend search, including New Hampshire State Police, New Hampshire Fish and Game, the University of New Hampshire Police Department, the Strafford County Sheriff’s Department, New Hampshire State Liquor Enforcement – Law Enforcement Division, and New England K-9 Search and Rescue.

About 36 hours after his friends had reported him missing, A New England K-9 Search and Rescue team found Lirosi’s body in a marshy area off Coe Drive in Durham around 1:20 p.m. Sunday.

"Though this is not the outcome we had all hoped for, we are grateful that we were able to find Vincenzo and bring some closure to his family,” Durham Police Chief Rene Kelley said in a statement.

A school in mourning

The University of New Hampshire shared a series of tweets Sunday evening, communicating the news of Lirosi’s death to the campus.

"It is with very heavy hearts that we share the search for Vincenzo Lirosi did not end as we had hoped,” the university said on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Vincenzo’s family and friends. This is a very sad day for our community and right now we are focused on providing the support and resources needed for everyone who knew him or is impacted by his death."

The university invited faculty and staff to be considerate of students and to refer them to the appropriate psychological and counseling services on campus. UNH held a vigil for Lirosi on Monday night.

Throughout the school, students were grieving the tragedy.

"I think of my own mother and how terrifying that must be for her and how awful it must be to lose a child," sophomore Toby Helton said. "Don't go anywhere alone. It's a good reminder."

A 22-year-old student at the University of New Hampshire was found dead after being reported missing.

UNH suspends Sigma Chi

UNH said the cause of Lirosi’s death was not suspicious. Yet on Monday, news broke that the university had suspended the Sigma Chi fraternity indefinitely following reports that Lirosi had gotten into an altercation at one of their parties the night he went missing.

“Prior to going missing Vinny was involved in an altercation at a gathering hosted by the members of Sigma Chi Fraternity,” Dean of Students Michael Blackman wrote in a letter to students. "As is common practice when an investigation involves a fraternity, we were in touch with the organization’s national headquarters and collectively agreed to interim suspend the organization effective immediately.”

Lirosi reportedly went to a party hosted by some of the fraternity members on Friday night. There, he was "involved in an altercation," the Portsmouth Herald reported Monday.

Lirosi's cause of death is still unknown pending an autopsy and the investigation remains open.

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