Coroner releases preliminary autopsy results on death of LSU fraternity pledge

Coroner releases preliminary autopsy results on death of LSU fraternity pledge
Published: Sep. 15, 2017 at 4:09 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 7:35 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner's Office has released its initial findings surrounding the death of an LSU student.

Coroner Dr. William "Beau" Clark issued a statement Friday morning on the death of Maxwell Gruver, 18, of Roswell, Georgia. The preliminary autopsy findings show that Gruver likely died from alcohol poisoning.

"We did find signs of both cerebral and pulmonary edema. those are fancy medical terms for swelling of the brain and lungs," Dr. Clark explained. "Alcohol is a depressant. It slows the system down sometimes to the point to where the body stops working and that's when you get into danger. We're not ready to make that call yet without having a toxicology report in front of us."

Clark added the toxicology and histological testing could take as long as four weeks to complete.

"It's absolutely terrible," Dr. Clark said. "It certainly can remind people the dangers of something such as alcohol and I think that's important for people to understand. Even though it's something that's legal if you're of the appropriate age, it can get you in a lot of trouble."

RELATED: LSU investigating death of 18-year-old pledge as possible hazing incident

District Attorney Hillar Moore said the family has expressed it does not wish to make a statement at this time.

"We were able to meet with the parents today," Moore said. "[It was] tough meeting with them. they're really in shock right now, as you can imagine."

He added any updates on the investigation or university processes will be provided by his office or LSU.

"We have at least one young man that came to our state to be educated is dead with some allegations of that is something we need to take very seriously," Moore noted. "This is something that everyone should be concerned and should be alarmed that this happened and surely the university is taking a very serious look at this."

The LSU chapter of the Phi Delta Theta released a statement on Gruver's death via Twitter.

All Greek activities have been suspended by the university until further notice pending the results of the investigation.

"Circumstances are not clear at this time, but Student Government has faith in the LSU Police Department, as well as local and state authorities, in determining the matters surrounding the student's death," states a press release from the LSU Student Government. "We are aware of the allegations of hazing and alcohol abuse, and pledge to take steps to eliminate hazing from our campus through appropriate policies and educational efforts. Student safety will continue to be a top priority for LSU and Student Government."

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