SUNY Oneonta freshman dies, found unresponsive early Saturday - Binghamton-area News, Weather, Sports

SUNY Oneonta freshman dies, found unresponsive early Saturday

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ONEONTA, N.Y. (WBNG/WKTV) -- Police say a SUNY Oneonta freshman was found dead off-campus over the weekend with drugs and alcohol in his system.

Oneonta Police Chief Douglas Brenner told 12 News they received a call that 18-year-old Daniel William Michaels, of Dix Hills, New York, was found unresponsive around 12:05 a.m. Saturday at 34 Academy Street. 

"Two other people had come to that apartment to look for a friend. They went inside in the living room and saw Mr. Michaels lying on the couch and in their words he didn't look good and they tried to roust him to wake him up and couldn't get him woken up," said Brenner. 

Brenner says Michaels was taken to A.O. Fox Hospital in a private vehicle. Michaels died at the hospital, according to police.

An autopsy was conducted at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton. Brenner says that while full results are pending, preliminary results indicate Michaels had alcohol, amphetamines and benzodiazepines in his system.

Tioga County Coroner Terry Knapp explained to 12 News Tuesday morning that the question the full autopsy results will answer is the nature of the amphetamines and benzodiazepines.

Knapp says those two substances could have been present in Michaels' system through illegal drugs, medication, or could have been used when medical professionals were trying to resuscitate Michaels.

Knapp also explained THC was found in Michaels and that the amount of alcohol in Michaels' system was relatively low, below the legal limit.

Officials say full results should take at least eight weeks to arrive.

According to the chief, 34 Academy Street is the location where members of a fraternity that is not recognized by SUNY Oneonta live.

Brenner notes there was a fraternity-related event earlier on Friday and says police are working to see if Michaels had attended that event, as well as if the drug and alcohol Michaels consumed were taken voluntarily or if they were given to Williams.

"The social event was like the welcoming of the new pledges, so the hazing stuff is all over with is all done, but it's still part of what we're looking into if maybe this welcoming was something that got a little out of hand," said Brenner.

Brenner also explained that foul play is not suspected at this time and that aside from a previous noise complaint response, 34 Academy Street has not been a problematic location for the Oneonta Police Department. He also notes Michaels lived on the SUNY Oneonta campus.

"At this point we're conducting interviews trying to set up a timeline as to where he was earlier in the night and looking into the criminality of it," Brenner explained. 

SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski sent an email to all students regarding Michaels' death. Michaels was a business economics major, according to the university.

Counseling services have been made available at SUNY Oneonta's Tobey Hall from staff members in the Counseling Center and Office of Residential Community Life.

Brenner says the investigation is ongoing.

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