Death of U of M student from South Dakota ruled alcohol-related
ST. PAUL—The death of a 20-year-old University of Minnesota student in St. Paul last month was alcohol-related, the Ramsey County medical examiner's office said Thursday, Oct. 11.
Dylan Fulton had been drinking, vomited when he was passed out and choked to death, said Lori Hedican, chief investigator at the medical examiner's office. He died at his fraternity house on Sept. 12.
Fulton grew up on his family farm south of St. Lawrence, S.D. He was pursuing a degree in animal science with a beef production emphasis.
The national organization of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity suspended the University of Minnesota's chapter the next day, pending an investigation, said Becky Haley, executive assistant of the agriculture fraternity.
Police were called to the fraternity house on Carter Avenue near the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus after Fulton's fraternity brothers found him unresponsive.
Fulton's official cause of death was probable asphyxia and possible positional asphyxia with aspiration; other significant causes were found to be ethanol intoxication, said Hedican of the death certificate. The certificate was filed Tuesday after toxicology results came back. Information about Fulton's blood-alcohol level was not available.
"This could have been anyone's son/brother/grandson/nephew/cousin.....GOOD KID," Fulton's family said in a statement after his death.
Fulton had a 4.0 GPA throughout his educational career, which he maintained at the University of Minnesota and made the dean's list, his family said. He received a full scholarship to attend the U, where he was a sophomore.
After Fulton died, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler directed the Office for Student Affairs to help the leaders of Greek chapters "conduct a thoughtful and exhaustive safety review." That work is underway and is being student led, said Steve Henneberry, director of communications for the Office for Student Affairs.
The university is awaiting the results of the St. Paul police investigation to determine their next steps, which could be an investigation of its own, Henneberry said.