In early February, a first-year scholar on the College of Vermont died after passing out in a snowbank. Connor Gage attended two frat events the night time of his demise, police mentioned. He died of hypothermia and acute alcohol intoxication, police mentioned.
UVM rapidly suspended all fraternity exercise and began an investigation.
Burlington police examined the case and determined to not cost the frats. Not too long ago launched police paperwork reveal extra concerning the night time of Gage’s demise, and inform a tragic story of a younger man seeking to make buddies and slot in.
Gage was making an attempt to stroll again campus the night time he died. He left a celebration with a gaggle, however cut up off to retrieve his bag from a home he’d been at earlier, police mentioned.
For his mom, Dorothy Connor, this is among the hardest information to cope with — nobody accompanied her son.
“Connor shouldn’t have been alone,” Dorothy mentioned in a current interview. “Whether or not you met any individual for the primary time that night time otherwise you’ve solely been buddies a few weeks and also you go to a celebration collectively … I imply any individual should’ve seen or recognized one thing.”
On the night time of February 1, Gage determined to exit to a celebration, in keeping with the paperwork, one thing he hardly ever did. More often than not, the 19-year previous neuroscience main stayed in his room. However in keeping with the police report, Gage advised a household pal he was lonely and seeking to meet folks.
“He was actually seeking to some of us that he had simply met from the fraternity to actually assist make some buddies on campus,” mentioned Burlington Police Detective Thomas Chenette. “It’s very, very tragic.”
Gage’s first cease was a celebration placed on by Delta Tau Delta. Witnesses advised Chenette it was a low-key occasion.
“There have been some of us consuming, but it surely wasn’t like kegs,” Chenette mentioned. “It wasn’t pressured consuming by any means and that he had introduced his personal alcohol with him.”
Gage had a bottle of liquor —maple moonshine, police mentioned. His stepfather gave him the bottle and in keeping with police, he was supposed to provide it to a household pal who lived in South Burlington. As a substitute, Gage saved it.
There’s no method to know the way a lot Gage drank that night time, however when police discovered the bottle, it was empty. In accordance with the post-mortem report, Gage had a blood alcohol focus of zero.2 when he died.
After the primary get together, police mentioned, Gage and some folks went to a different one hosted by Alpha Epsilon Pi, a frat that’s now not acknowledged by UVM. In 2014, AE Pi was suspended for violating campus insurance policies round alcohol and hazing.
Members of AE Pi advised police they didn’t serve booze on the get together. Nobody remembered seeing Gage, in keeping with police.
When the get together shut down round 12:45 a.m., the group of individuals Gage was with left, police mentioned.
“The remainder of the frat brothers took an Uber again to campus,” Chenette mentioned. “They didn’t know him that effectively, so every of them simply assumed he was going again with another person.”
Gage began strolling, headed roughly in the direction of again to the primary frat, however not on probably the most direct path, police mentioned. He was going to get his backpack.
There’s a stretch of bars at close to the start of the route Gage walked. On a Friday night time, even a chilly night time in February, folks huddle outdoors, smoking and speaking. However the avenue rapidly will get quiet – the few eating places and enterprise alongside the best way aren’t open late and the aspect streets result in residential neighborhoods.
Finally, Gage realized he wanted to chop throughout two streets and double again. To do this, he tried strolling throughout a big parking zone.
“[It] simply was so chilly after which he encountered that fence,” mentioned Chenette.
Gage tried climbing over the fence, however fell. He adopted the size of the fence trying to find a spot. When he didn’t discover a manner by means of the fence, Gage tried one final time to climb over. Then, the police report says, he took a couple of steps again and laid down within the snow.
The temperatures fell under zero that night time, and Gage was not dressed for the climate.
Burlington police dominated Gage’s demise an accident and closed the case.
However each frats are nonetheless suspended and UVM is investigating whether or not any campus guidelines had been damaged. Vice-Provost for Pupil Affairs Annie Stevens mentioned the college’s investigation is broader than what police examined.
“Have been folks inspired to, although it might not be pressured to, however had been they inspired to drink?” Stevens mentioned. “What was the scene at each these of those organizations’ homes, what was taking place, who was there? So we’ll need to know so much about what occurred.”
The nationwide headquarters for each frats, Delta Tau Delta and Alpha Epsilon Pi, supplied VPR with written statements saying they’re cooperating with the investigations.
Gage’s mother, Dorothy, mentioned that so many issues went unsuitable that night time, she will be able to’t blame anybody.
“There are moments that, you already know, I am indignant with Connor, I am indignant with God, I am indignant with the children on the fraternity, I am indignant with the varsity,” she mentioned. “It isn’t that you do not have these moments, however I can not let these moments rule my life.”
Not too long ago Dorothy acquired a field from the Burlington police. Inside had been Gage’s garments from the night time he died.
“When the FedEx man handed me the field the wind type of blew up and blew by means of the field and kinda into my face and I might scent him,” Dorothy mentioned.
The final time that occurred, she mentioned, she was cleansing out her son’s dorm room.