California State University at Northridge has launched an investigation into the death of a 19-year-old student after his aunt said it was the result of hazing, the Los Angeles Times reports. Armando Villa was found dead on Tuesday by a ranger in Angeles National Forest.
Maria Castañeda, who said she was Mr. Villa’s aunt, told a television station that he had gone on a hiking trip as part of a fraternity function. She said a group that included Mr. Villa had been “left barefoot with very little water to share between the boys, and no cellphones, and to find their way out of the forest.”
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County sheriff said Mr. Villa had passed out along the trail after the group apparently ran out of water.
Ms. Castañeda said the hike had been the final hazing ritual before the students were to be accepted into the university’s Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. The university has ordered the fraternity to suspend all activities.
Mr. Villa was set to start his second year at the university in August.