Alcohol Beverage Commission investigating Texas State student death

Matthew Ellis died on Nov. 13, 2017 after a fraternity event. (Courtesy: Ellis Family)
Matthew Ellis died on Nov. 13, 2017 after a fraternity event. (Courtesy: Ellis Family)

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — In light of the death of a fraternity pledge at Texas State University earlier this week, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission says it is working to determine the source of any alcohol that may have been involved in the 20-year-old’s death.

Police say they have not determine a cause of death, but believe alcohol may have been a factor. Matthew Ellis was found unresponsive at an apartment in San Marcos on Nov. 13 following a Phi Kappa Psi fraternity event the night before.

“We will vigorously pursue any violations that may have contributed to cutting this young man’s life short,” said TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly.

TABC is working with local law enforcement and says it could expand its investigation to identify retailers that make have sold to a minor or intoxicated person. Penalties for violations like those could include a business losing its liquor license and even jail time for an employee who sold the alcohol.

“So-called ‘traditions,’ such as forcing a fraternity pledge to overconsume alcohol, have no place at a university,” Lilly said. “Regardless of the outcome of this investigation, TABC will proactively work with universities and law enforcement across Texas to combat and raise awareness of this senseless activity.”

Texas State University President Denise Trauth has suspended all Greek Life activities at the school for now. A university spokesman said Texas State was already in the process of investigating Phi Kappa Psi following a complaint in September. The national chapter suspended the local chapter last week.

Ellis’ funeral will be held Saturday, Nov. 18. His family said in his obituary that he had a passion for missions and asks people to donate to Kingwood United Methodist Church’s youth mission program.

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