Police Investigating Death of Penn State Student Found in Fraternity House

iStock/Thinkstock(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- Authorities in State College, Pennsylvania, are still investigating the weekend death of a college student and trying to uncover why it took fraternity members nearly 12 hours to report that they'd found him motionless at the bottom of basement stairs in their house.

According to police, officers were called to the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on the campus of Pennsylvania State University on Friday around 10:49 a.m. There, police said, they found 19-year-old Timothy J. Piazza unconscious.

"Fraternity members reported that Piazza, while intoxicated, had fallen down basement stairs around 11 p.m. Thursday," a police news release said.

Police said Piazza had been attending a party at the Beta Theta Pi house. He was taken to the hospital but died Saturday morning.

Penn State said Tuesday that Piazza was an engineering major from Lebanon, New Jersey, in his fourth semester.

In a Facebook post, Piazza's brother Mike said he was "utterly devastated."

"On Saturday morning, I lost my other half. Tim, I will miss you eternally," he wrote. "My job for the past 19 years has been to protect my younger brother. Now, I know he will protect me. I love you Timmy. Rest in peace."

Dauphin County coroner Graham Hetrick told ABC News that an autopsy was performed Tuesday and that it showed that Piazza had suffered multiple traumatic injuries due to the fall. Hetrick said there was also alcohol found in Piazza's system. Hetrick said the death was accidental.

"Alcohol was obviously a factor in this and we are also looking into why it took so long to call," State College police Lt. Keith Robb said Monday during a news conference, according to MyCentralJersey.com. "We are still in the process of determining that. We are getting some different stories."

In a statement on its Penn State Alpha Upsilon chapter website, said: "Our chapter is mourning the loss of Tim Piazza, a student who recently accepted an invitation to join our fraternity. It is believed that Tim's death stemmed from an accidental injury sustained from a fall in the chapter house. We are working closely with our General Fraternity to determine how this happened, and are fully cooperating with police and Penn State administrators in their own investigations. While additional statements and information will be released once confirmed, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time."

Robb said, at the Monday news conference, that authorities were in the process of obtaining video from inside the fraternity house.

Penn State said its governing body for all fraternities as well as the fraternity's national organization had placed Beta Theta Pi on temporary cease and desist until all investigations were complete.

"Our deepest sympathy goes out to Tim's family and friends during this mournful time," the school said in a statement to ABC News. "Currently, the University is offering counseling services for those individuals in our community who are in need."

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