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'Big brother' arrested for hazing in connection with WVU frat death

| Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, 3:32 p.m.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An arrest was made Wednesday in connection with the death of West Virginia University student Nolan Burch, according to the Monongalia County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

According to court documents obtained by WBOY, 20-year-old Richard Schwartz was arrested and charged with one count of hazing and one count of conspiracy to commit hazing.

WBOY reports that police said Schwartz, who's from the same hometown as Burch, is accused of providing a bottle of liquor for Burch.

According to WBOY, Schwartz was Burch's “big brother” in Kappa Sigma.

Burch, 18, died with a blood alcohol content of .493 percent, according to police.

Morgantown police officers responded to a home on Belmar Avenue for an unknown medical emergency just before midnight on Nov. 12.

According to police, when the first officer arrived, he found an individual performing CPR on an unresponsive 18-year-old.

The officer continued to perform CPR until emergency personnel arrived.

The victim, identified as Burch, was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

Detectives investigating the death conducted dozens of interviews and reviewed video footage and evidence.

According to Morgantown police, Burch, along with 19 other fraternity pledges, were summoned to the house to participate in an initiation function referred to as “Big-Little.”

Police said Burch and the other pledges were taken to a room inside the fraternity, blindfolded and then led to another location on Glendon Street.

According to the police report, Burch and the other pledges were presented to the “Big,” a senior member or alumnus of Kappa Sigma, and were given bottles of liquor.

Police said Burch consumed a large quantity of alcohol.

According to police, Burch was later taken back to the Belmar Avenue home because of his “high level of intoxication.”

“At approximately 11:50 p.m. another member of Kappa Sigma observed that Burch's face had a blue coloration to it and tried to wake him,” the police release said. “This is when Burch was found to be without a pulse and CPR was initiated, along with a call being made to 911.”

In a statement earlier this year, West Virginia University and Greek Life organizations said that the safety of the students always comes first and that's why Greek activities were suspended after Burch's death.

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