By Matthew Walberg and Jodi Cohen
7:34 PM EDT, November 2, 2012
Alcohol might have played a role in the death of an NIU student found dead in an off-campus fraternity house today, according the DeKalb County Coroner’s office.
DeKalb police officers responded to the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at about 10:15 a.m. after David Bogenberger, 19, was found unresponsive in a bed, said DeKalb County Coroner Dennis J. Miller.
Bogenberger was pronounced dead at the scene about a half hour later.
Miller said Bogenberger was not a resident at the fraternity, and lived in a dormitory on campus. He said an autopsy was scheduled for Saturday to determine the cause and manner of death.
Miller said a preliminary review found no signs of trauma or foul play, and that there was evidence that alcohol had been consumed at the fraternity. Miller said he believes this is Rush Week at the school.
Reached at his home in Florida, Bogenberger’s father said the family was still trying to absorb the news of his death.
“I talked to him the night before last, even saw his smiling face on a video chat, and that was the last time I saw him,” Gary Bogenberger said. “He said he was getting straight As, one B in math, and doing very well.”
Bogenberger, a triplet, graduated in June 2012 from Palatine High School with his brother and sister, then decided to attend NIU to study finance, his father said. He was pledging at the fraternity where he was found.
“None of us have really digested what is going on yet,” he said.
The university has made counselors available for students who want to talk about Bogenberger’s death.
“Our hearts are broken -- you never want to see this happen," university spokesman Brad Hoey said. "We are still trying to get to the bottom of what happened."
Hoey said that based on interviews with other students, it appeared that alcohol may have been a factor.
"We do believe that alcohol may have been involved," he said. "That is one of the things that was shared, that there was alcohol present."
Hoey said that the fraternity has a good reputation at the university.
“It’s the Pike House, a very well-known fraternity,” he said. “Not a lot of problems with partying. It’s a fraternity in good standing at this time.”
The NIU chapter of the fraternity has ceased operations and is cooperating with the investigation, according to Justin True, a spokesman for the Memphis, Tenn.-based fraternity.
“The fraternity’s thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young man (and) the brothers of the Eta Nu Chapter,” he said in a statement.
The fraternity house is a three-story apartment-style building with white pillars at the front entrance and gold Greek letters above the door.
The house is located off-campus at 1020 W. Hillcrest Drive amid several fraternities and sororities.
A person who answered the door at the fraternity house said, “No one in this building is commenting.”
Other students in the neighbor were saddened by the news.
“It kind of makes me upset,” said NIU freshman Austin Silva, 18. “That’s just too young to die.”
Added Andy Leong, 21, a junior from Schaumburg: “It’s terrible.”
Leong said he didn’t know if there was a drinking problem in DeKalb. “Some kids drink and others don’t,” he said.
“It’s a college town, and it can get kind of wild,” said Christen Williams, 23, a freshman at Kishawaukee College who lives near the fraternity.” They do things for fun, but they don’t think about the consequences.”