Police Investigate 19-Year-Old College Student's Death After Fraternity Party

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 19-year-old Rutgers student died early Sunday after she was taken from a New Jersey fraternity house “in distress.”

Caitlyn P. Kovacs, of Monmouth Junction, passed out at Delta Kappa Epsilon on Sunday, authorities said. Friends reported that she “appeared to be in distress” at a small gathering in the frat house, according to New Brunswick prosecutor Andrew Carey.

She was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital where she pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m.

Carey has not filed charges in the death, pending autopsy. Hospital officials said initial findings show the death could be alcohol-related.

The DKE chapter has 55 members. Police interviewed several frat brothers later in the day.

"As the investigation of the incident is ongoing, Delta Kappa Epsilon is fully cooperating with local and county authorities," DKE International Executive Director Doug Laphner said in a statement.

Kovacs, majoring in animal sciences, was a sophomore at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.

"She was always involved in planning pep rallies and the powder puff games and stuff like that,’’ said Aaron Laserna, 19, who went to Rutgers with Kovacs. ''She had a lot of energy and always had a smile on her face. She was always happy and fun to be around. I can’t believe she’s gone.''

“She was always laughing and making others laugh and smile as well. She was a good kid with a good head on her shoulders,” Melissa Mielko, who attended high school with Kovacs, told

"We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Caitlyn Kovacs, a sophomore at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, majoring in animal sciences,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said in a statement to the campus community. “Her passing over the weekend is a tragic loss to her family, her friends, and the entire Rutgers community."

Yale banned a chapter of DKE from conducting activities on campus, including recruiting, in 2011 after it held a pledge ceremony including sexually explicit chanting, New York Daily News reported.

Sources:, New York Daily News

Image credit: Facebook, Brian Amaral/NJ Advance Media