W.Va. student dies after being found without pulse at fraternity house

An 18-year-old West Virginia University student has died two days after police found him unconscious at a fraternity house that was under investigation for its conduct on campus, police and university officials said Friday.

Nolan Michael Burch of Buffalo, N.Y., was found unconscious at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house in Morgantown just before midnight Wednesday, according to statement released by the city's police department.


Burch, a freshman majoring in pre-sport management, had no pulse when officers responded to the home, according to the statement, and someone was attempting to give him CPR.

He was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and placed in intensive care, according to police, but he died Friday morning, university officials said.

"I am very saddened to hear that our student Nolan Burch passed away today. My heart breaks for his family," university President E. Gordon Gee wrote on Twitter on Friday morning. "I hope the entire WVU community understands how precious every life is to this University. We must help to prevent similar tragedies."

A cause of death was not immediately known, and Burch's connection to the fraternity was unclear.

A Morgantown police spokesman declined to provide additional information, and calls to a spokesman for the state medical examiner's office were not immediately returned.

On Thursday, the school suspended all fraternity and sorority activities on campus, citing the incident with Burch and a public disturbance involving another organization Nov. 6.

"The action to halt fraternity and sorority activities while these matters are being reviewed is being done with the well-being and safety of our students in mind. That is – and must always be – our foremost priority," Dean of Students Corey Farris said in a statement.

Kappa Sigma, a national fraternity headquartered in Virginia, had been under investigation over its conduct since October, according to a statement issued by the organization. The West Virginia University chapter was officially kicked off campus Monday, two days before Burch was found unconscious.

An email to a Kappa Sigma spokesman seeking additional comment was not immediately returned.

The school's Greek organizations planned to hold a vigil Friday night for Burch.

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