Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with additional information
The death of the Fresno State student is being blamed on an accidental drug overdose.
At a news conference on Thursday, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said that investigators believe the death of Fresno State sophomore Omar Nemeth was due to an overdose of Xanax pills.
An official toxicology report will not be known for another four weeks, while an autopsy is performed, Dyer said.
The 19-year-old biochemistry major was visiting the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity since early Wednesday morning, Dyer stated, and had been smoking marijuana and consuming Xanax pills, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, before arriving there about 3 a.m. with his younger brother and girlfriend. Nemeth was not a member of the fraternity.
“They went inside the house and Omar had with him in his possession, a bag of Xanax pills and they began to party with three other fraternity members inside the house,” Dyer said.
Nemeth had decided to spend the night at the house on a couch. About 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dyer said, Nemeth’s girlfriend left the fraternity house and his brother went to wake up him up.
While kneeled with his upper body on the couch, Nemeth was found unconscious, Dyer said, and his younger brother began screaming for help. Three other fraternity brothers began doing CPR, he added.
Nemeth’s brother did not let the fraternity brothers call an ambulance, according to Dyer, and arranged for a friend to pick them up instead.
Nemeth was wheeled out of the fraternity home on a rolling chair before he was driven to Saint Agnes Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital about just before 2:40 p.m.
Dyer said that investigators searched the car that was used to transport Nemeth to the hospital and found a bag believed to be brought to the fraternity house by Nemeth. Inside were 583 Xanax pills, he said, along with an ounce of marijuana and two bottles of promethazine, which is used as a sedative.
“We’ve also determined in our investigation that Omar Nemeth is a chronic user of Xanax pills and smokes marijuana frequently,” Dyer said. “That day was not too much different than what had been occurring for the last six months.”
Dyer said there are no pending criminal charges so far in Nemeth’s death. He also said this death is unlike other deaths at fraternity houses in the country, including that the drugs were consumed by Nemeth voluntarily.
“At this point in time, there does not appear to be any pending criminal charges that will be levied on anyone,” Dyer said. “This is not anything that would be even close to what we’ve seen across the nation in terms of fraternity houses.”
Delta Sigma Phi’s organization headquarters said in a statement that although Nemeth was not a member of the fraternity, “we join with the entire Fresno State community to mourn the loss of this young man and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time”.
The statement also stated that the organization will be working alongside the university and law enforcement during the investigation.
Associated Students, Inc. President Blake Zante, who is a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, said in a Thursday statement that Nemeth’s loss affects the campus.
“As students, we come to Fresno State to enhance our education and fulfill our dreams. It is hard to comprehend a tragedy like this at this stage in life,” Zante said.
Chueyee Yang and Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado contributed.