Ill. Wesleyan Student Died of Hypothermia at White Pines; Fraternity Suspended for 3 Years

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

MT. MORRIS (WIFR) -- Brandon Landau, the Illinois Wesleyan student found dead at White Pines State Park last month, died from hypothermia at least in part because he was extremely drunk.

The coroner says acute alcohol intoxication was a contributing factor in his death. Toxicology results also showed marijuana in his system.

Landau’s fraternity had rented out several cabins in the state park for a party back in March. As a result of Landau's death the frat has been suspended for three years.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) -- A fraternity at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington has been suspended for three years after a student's death in March.

The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports that school president Richard Wilson announced the suspension in a statement Tuesday. Authorities in northern Illinois say 18-year-old Brandon Landau of New York was at a party in White Pines State Park and died after being found unresponsive with his lower body in a stream and his upper body on a log.

Sigma Pi can appeal the sanctions. It also can request reinstatement in 2015, but would face another four years of probation. Wilson says the university found the fraternity responsible for "serious violations."

The university's Office of Judicial Affairs investigated the case and it had a hearing before the judicial committee.


MT. MORRIS (WIFR) -- Police say the 18-year-old Illinois Wesleyan student found dead in Pine Creek Sunday morning was drinking at a fraternity party the night before. 23 News went to White Pines State Park today to investigate.

18-year-old Brandon Landau was found slumped over a log floating in the Pine Creek around 11:00 am Sunday morning. It was eight hours earlier when clues started to surface. The Ogle County Sheriff says just before 3:00 in the morning a 20-year-old female student was arrested after wandering into a home across from the state park. The homeowner tells 23 News the girl was tired and drunk. Just down the road an ambulance was called for another student: a boy who had fallen and split his head open. All in all, five students were arrested Sunday morning for underage drinking. How they got the alcohol is still unclear.

The sheriff says he thinks there are about 40 log cabins in White Pines State Park and they were filled with students on Saturday night. School officials say Landau was in the Sigma Pi fraternity. Students from the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority were also there that night.

A spokesperson from Illinois Wesleyan told us, "For the young people who were there when Brandon was found that's going to affect those young people for quite some time and you talk about the consequences, that's probably one of the greatest consequences they're going to have."

Landau was a freshman--a political science major who worked at one of the university food courts. He’s originally from the Bronx, New York.

Illinois Wesleyan is having a vigil tonight at 10 pm for Brandon.


UPDATE: The Ogle County Sheriff is identifying the 18-year-old as Brandon Landau of Bronx, New York.

Police say Landau was located in Pine Creek on the south edge of White Pines State Park. He was flown by helicopter to Rockford Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Investigators say Landau was last seen alive around 2:00 am by friends at a party in the 6000 block of W. Pines Rd.

Landau's cause of dead is pending toxicology results. He was a student at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

The coroner says Landau was found with his lower body in the water and his upper body laying across a log. There was no trauma to his body.


WINNEBAGO/OGLE COUNTIES (WIFR) -- Authorities are investigating the death of an 18-year-old.

The Winnebago County Coroner say the victim was found at White Pine State Park in Ogle County today and was airlifted to Rockford Memorial Hospital. That is where he was pronounced dead at 12:40 p.m.

Ogle County authorities are not releasing any details right now.

The Winnebago County Coroner is scheduled to perform an autopsy tomorrow.


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