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CSUN Student Dies Hiking, Family Believes It Was Fraternity Hazing

Armando Villa's aunt said he had been hiking without shoes and with little water.

Armando Villa, 19, died Tuesday after going on a hike with the CSUN Phi Kappa Phi fraternity. Patch file photo.
Armando Villa, 19, died Tuesday after going on a hike with the CSUN Phi Kappa Phi fraternity. Patch file photo.

The death of a California State Northridge student who had been hiking in the Angeles National Forest is being investigated by homicide detectives, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced today.

Armando Villa, 19, was taking part in a hike organized by the CSUN Phi Kappa Phi fraternity, ABC7 reported.

Villa's aunt, Maria Castaneda, told ABC7 he had been hiking without shoes and with little water.

The hikers had run out of water and Villa had lost consciousness on the trail, off Vogel Flat Road near Big Tujunga Station, around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, sheriff's Deputy Amber Smith said.

The hikers were able to flag down a forest ranger, and Villa was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Smith said.

Homicide detectives believe Villa's death was caused by heat stroke, but were awaiting the coroner's finding, Smith said.

Villa's family told ABC7 they believed he was taking part in an overnight hike in the forest, and was participating in a hazing prank gone wrong.

The fraternity said it was cooperating fully with investigators.

--City News Service


Kim Neal July 03, 2014 at 10:25 AM
How many times do kids have to be told about hikers being dehydrated? This is a heartbreaking senseless mistake. Blame and make an example of the control freaks who came up with a dangerous idea at the expense of Armando's family, who will now and forever live with a rock in their hearts.
Ziegler July 04, 2014 at 05:51 AM
One of my sons survived this horrible practice of leaving the kids stranded somewhere in the mountains. It continues through the decades although it has caused several deaths and the Universities have tried to clamp down. Arrests have to be made of some Fraternity brothers and maybe that will help.

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