April 05, 2004

Apparent drowning involved SIUC fraternity

by Sue Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale administrators today (April 5) said an apparent drowning of a 19-year-old freshman at Cedar Lake early Sunday morning occurred during a camping trip held by fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha.

"We are encouraging the students who were involved to continue cooperating and to provide all information to the investigating authorities," said Larry A. Dietz, SIUC's Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "This is a very sad time for all of those involved and we are lending our support in every way possible."

Meanwhile, officers from the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service and the Rend Lake Search and Rescue Team returned to the lake early this morning to resume looking for the missing student, who disappeared after a canoe capsized on the lake about 4:30 a.m. on Sunday. The Illinois State Police also assisted in the investigation on Sunday, providing aerial support to searchers and divers.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, campers called 911 to report the apparent drowning shortly after the incident early Sunday. There were two students in the canoe when it capsized on the west end of the lake near Cove Hollow. The other student managed to get to shore and alerted fellow campers to the situation.

Authorities are not releasing the name of the apparent victim.

Members of Pi Kappa Alpha and pledges to the fraternity had set up camp under the bluffs there early Saturday afternoon.

SIUC counselors and the Rev. Bob Gray from Our Savior Lutheran Church in Carbondale met with students Sunday evening.