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updated: 11/3/2012 10:16 AM

Palatine grad found dead at NIU fraternity

Police investigating alcohol as a cause

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  • David R. Bogenberger

      David R. Bogenberger

 
 

A 19-year-old Palatine man who just started his freshman year at Northern Illinois University was found dead in an off-campus fraternity house Friday morning, authorities said.

David R. Bogenberger, who graduated from Palatine High School in June, was found unresponsive in a bed at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at 10:14 a.m. Authorities were unable to resuscitate the victim and he was officially pronounced dead at 10:45 a.m., according to the DeKalb Police Department.

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Police said there were no obvious signs of foul play or suspicious circumstances. Investigators were looking into whether alcohol may have played a role in Bogenberger's death.

"It's something we'll investigate," DeKalb police Lt. Jason Leverton said. "We won't be able to determine until (there is) a cause of death."

An autopsy is planned for Saturday.

Bogenberger was a student at the College of Business at NIU. He lived on campus in a residence hall, as is required of all freshmen, but he may have been participating in rush week activities with Pi Kappa Alpha. On his Facebook page, Bogenberger recently uploaded a photo of students holding a Pi Kappa Alpha sign.

His dad Gary said the family is still in "shell shock" after learning of David's death.

"There was never any display of this kind of behavior. You send him off into the world and hope for the best," Gary Bogenberger said.

David was a triplet, and upon graduation, he moved down to the family's new home in Osprey, Fla., for a month, before returning to NIU in DeKalb for classes in the fall.

His father says he just spoke with David Wednesday night on a video conference. David was doing well in school -- he had all A's besides one B -- and he was asking questions about how to load a Microsoft program onto his computer for a business class.

His dad said David was a "very social kind of guy" who "loved people and people loved him." He had aspirations of joining Pi Kappa Alpha and becoming involved in the group's leadership.

But, Gary Bogenberger says, the family has many questions right now that it's trying to find answers to.

"What boggles my mind is the total lack of a supervisor that would feed a 19-year-old that much alcohol. It sounds like gross negligence on someone's part," he said. "I don't know what happened. Police have to investigate to see if any culpability and responsibility lays at anyone's feet, besides David's."

NIU spokesman Brad Hoey said the fraternity is in good standing with the university.

The fraternity chapter at NIU "has ceased operations and is cooperating with all ongoing police and university investigations," said Justin True, a spokesman for the Memphis, Tenn.-based Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, in a statement.

"The fraternity's thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young man (and) the brothers of the Eta Nu Chapter," True said.

Hoey said counseling has been made available to students, friends and acquaintances at NIU.

"We have heavy hearts here. Any time we have a death of a student it affects all of us on campus," he said.

On Bogenberger's NIU online profile page, he said he enjoyed classic films, reading and playing sports with friends. In high school, he participated in the service club, attended the Model Congress, and was a state qualifier in the DECA Business Club.

Authorities from the DeKalb Police Department, DeKalb County coroner's office and Northern Illinois University said they would continue to investigate the case.

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