Death of LSU freshman called "potential hazing incident"

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Investigation into LSU student's death. ABC News reports on September 17, 2017. (WPVI)

The recent death of a Louisiana State University freshman is being described as a "potential hazing incident."

The family of Max Gruver is now preparing for his funeral.

"We will never know what he might have contributed to the world," Max's grandfather Eugene Gruver told ABC News.

A preliminary autopsy shows the Phi Delta Theta pledge had "a highly elevated blood alcohol level plus the presence of THC," a component of marijuana, in his system.

LSU administrators quickly called this incident a "possible case of hazing" and shut down all Greek life on campus during their investigation.

While hazing has not been proven to have been involved in Gruver's death, the fraternity's national organization has suspended the LSU chapter and promises "any individuals who are found to have violated our policies will be held accountable."

With more than 150 chapters, the fraternity tells ABC News, "Over the past decade Phi Delta Theta has removed 19 undergraduate chapters due to risk management violations."

Those violation include allegations of misconduct including alcohol related incidents and hazing.

ABC News spoke with attorney Doug Fierberg, who represents hazing victims and recently settled a lawsuit against Phi Delta Theta on behalf of a University of Chicago pledge.

"Universities and fraternities are not taking the steps, and this goes back decades, to prevent these problems and reform their institutions that are fundamentally dangerous," Fierberg said.

There has been intensified scrutiny of fraternities following hazing-related tragedies like the recent death of Penn State Beta Theta Pi pledge Timothy Piazza.

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Most serious charges dropped in Penn State frat death. Watch this report from Action News at Noon on September 1, 2017.

Now, another family who sent a young student to live the college dream is living a nightmare.

"Our family is completely devastated," Eugene Gruver said.
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