IU student found at fraternity dies

Brian Macken

Cat Andersen/Eyewitness News

Bloomington - After fighting for his life for the last several days, a 19-year-old Indiana University student found unresponsive in a fraternity house has died.

News of Brian Macken's death shook IU's campus.

"It's really sad to see that a student at such a young age dying like that," said Chuck Corbin, IU student.

"It always jumps out at you when it happens around here because we're all at the same parties and we're all doing the same stuff," Josh Kronfeld, IU student.

Police say when they found Macken inside the Phi Sigma Kappa house Friday afternoon, he was not breathing.

"We started doing CPR and he was revived and taken to the hospital," said Keith Cash, IU police chief.

Macken died five days later. Investigators are looking into whether alcohol or drugs played a role after searching his dorm room.

"I can't comment on specifics on what we found but I will just say it was apparent some drug activity had occurred," said Chief Cash.

They say there was no evidence of drug activity at the fraternity house, nor was Macken a member of that fraternity.

"The house has cooperated fully. So far there is no indication that they did anything inappropriate as far as when they thought he needed assistance we were contacted," said Cash.

Macken has had several run-ins with the law in connection with drugs and alcohol. This summer, he was arrested in his home state of Connecticut and was charged with operating a drug factory, possession and sale of marijuana, and second degree forgery. IU police say he was also arrested last year on campus.

"It was alcohol related. There was some kind of small fight or disturbance," said Chief Cash.

Investigators are waiting on toxicology reports to pinpoint what caused Macken's death. Those tests could take weeks to come back.

IU Police are working to gain access to Macken's cell phone, computer and medical records.

Cash said IU Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith had been meeting with Macken's family since he was hospitalized.

IU released the following statement Thursday:

Indiana University officials today expressed condolences to the family of student Brian Macken, 19, of Riverside, Conn., who died Tuesday evening at Bloomington Hospital, where he was being treated after becoming unconscious four days earlier at the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house.

"We have all been saddened by the loss of one of our students, and we have extended our heartfelt condolences to Brian's family members who have been at his side at the hospital for the past few days," said Dean of Students Harold "Pete" Goldsmith. "This is a tragedy, and we are attempting to determine exactly what happened, primarily with a view to ensure that nothing like this ever occurs again."

Goldsmith said Brian's professors and students who knew him will be personally notified today of his death.

"We will be working closely with students from the fraternity and residence halls who have been impacted by Brian's untimely death," Goldsmith said.

Macken, a sophomore, was not a member of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, but was there last Thursday evening and Friday as a guest, according to preliminary results of an IU Police Department investigation of the incident.

IU Police Chief Keith Cash said he is still awaiting toxicology results to determine if Macken had ingested alcohol or drugs before he fell unconscious.

Goldsmith said he and his staff are working with leaders of IU's Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association to discuss how they can help make all students aware of the many campus resources available to students who may be demonstrating troubling or problematic behavior, including alcohol and drug abuse.

"We have resources to deal with these problems, and we want to be sure that all our students know how to bring problems to the attention of people who can deal with them," Goldsmith said.

Goldsmith said that as soon as the IUPD investigation of this incident is completed, his office will carefully review all the circumstances of what happened at the fraternity house to determine if any university policies on alcohol and drug use were violated.