Local News

N.C. State TKE Members Mourn Drowned Brother

Posted April 14, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Members of a N.C. State University fraternity are mourning the loss of one of their own just hours after his initiation.

Police say 19-year-old Steven Jason Velazquez drowned in Raleigh's Lake Johnson after a late-night group swim Sunday. His body was found Monday afternoon under a floating dock at the lake.

Detectives ventured in and out of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house on the State campus all day Monday, interviewing members. Detectives told WRAL-TV5'sAmanda Lambthat they believe the drowning was accidental, and that there was no force used.

Some people were wondering Monday if the drowning might have been connected to the initiation. There has been some speculation that fraternity members threw their newest members into the lake after initiation. The students called police about 12:30 a.m. Monday after the group returned to its fraternity house and realized Velazquez was missing.

But Raleigh police Sgt. R.E. Deaton said it appears the group went to the lake Sunday night to have a good time, not as part of the initiation ceremony.

Tom Stafford, vice chancellor of student affairs at N.C. State, verified that Velazquez had just been initiated into TKE.

N.C. State Chancellor Larry Monteith said it is too early for the school to have all the facts.

A police investigation is continuing, and Monteith said the school would conduct an investigation of its own.

Velazquez's parents drove from Goldsboro and spent much of the day with school officials. Police say they don't expect any charges will be filed in this case.