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Family sues over death of Cornell freshman who was found dead at gorge

The parents of an 18-year-old Cornell University freshman have filed a lawsuit to seek answers as to how, and why, he died.

Antonio Tsialas was found dead at the bottom of Fall Creek gorge in October 2019.

According to a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of Tompkins County, Tsialas was invited to a rush party at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house on campus with 35 other freshmen, CNYCentral reports. The “Christmas in October” event had Christmas-themed rooms set up where the freshmen were hazed and pressured to drink large amounts of alcohol.

The suit alleges that Antonio was too intoxicated at that point, and disappeared. At this point, no one has come forward with any information about the night, or why he left the fraternity house.

Two days later, his body was found at the bottom of the gorge. His wallet and keys were with him, but his phone was missing. It was last seen at the fraternity house, CNYCentral reports.

“They apparently believe that the rules don’t apply to them and while we still don’t know how Antonio died, we do know that had this totally unauthorized and illegal hazing ritual not taken place, Antonio would be alive today,” said The Tasialas family attorney David W. Bianchi. Bianchi specializes in fraternity hazing cases.

The lack of information known about their son’s death is ‘frustrating’, according to the suit.

“The fraternity members will not talk to us, Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has not reached out or tried to help us in any way and the Cornell University police department will not let us see any part of their investigation. As a result, we have had to hire our own investigators, offer a $10,000 reward for information and file this lawsuit to hold those responsible for the events of that night accountable,” said John Tsialas, Antonio’s father.