|Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house|
After three blocks, investigators say he turned in a driveway, then stopped. A homeowner found his wallet with cash and bank cards still in it and evidence he had vomited. It appears that he then kept going because at about 4:00 a.m., a janitor spotted an intoxicated student matching Kycia's description, pulling on the doors of a building. [In another news story, witnesses reported seeing a man matching Kycia's description walking alone toward the river on Eighth Street near Main Avenue between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. It is unclear whether this was the sighting made by the janitor.] Sometime after that, Kycia called his roommate, but he hung up. [Two calls were placed from Kycia's cell phone with no talking in either call.] His roommate called him back right away, but there was no answer.
Police expanded the search for Kycia after a New Balance sneaker (similar to one Kycia was wearing when last seen) was found floating on the Red River. On 9/27/05, police found Patrick's body in the river.
Patrick reportedly left the party around midnight, yet someone possibly spotted him walking toward the river around 4 a.m. This sighting raises many questions. If this really was Patrick, what had he been doing between the time he left the party (midnight) and when he was spotted (4 a.m.)? Why didn't anyone notice him sooner? If the sighting was genuine, it means that Kycia walked south where he dropped his wallet, then changed his mind and went north where he was spotted, and then headed southwest before reaching the river and falling in. How was he able to walk that far if he was so impaired? Why would Kycia head off campus? But perhaps the biggest question is how he ended up in the river.
Map from http://www.vanceholmes.com/
Another Sad Lesson
A year and a half before Patrick Kycia's death, on March 15, 2004, another Phi Sigma Kappa member, Jason Reinhardt, died of alcohol poisoning after trying to do a "power hour"--21 shots in an hour, to celebrate his twenty first birthday. He made it to 16. That night, he slept at the frat house, and friends say when they checked on Jason, he was fine. But the next day, Reinhardt was found in bed lying in his own vomit. He was deceased.
Final Autopsy Report
The final autopsy report on Patrick Kycia showed he been drinking the night he died, and had a blood alcohol content of .17--above the legal limit for driving. THC, a chemical in marijuana was also found in his blood stream, but since marijuan can remain in the body for several weeks, it is unknown when Kycia had ingested it. Although police had confiscated hallucinogenic mushrooms from the fraternity house after the party, no traces of mushrooms were found in Kycia's system. There was no trauma to the body.
Arrests and lawsuit
On October 9, 2005, seven Phi Sigma Kappa members were arrested in the death of Patrick Kycia on charges that included selling liquor to a minor resulting in death, selling alcohol without a license and procuring alcohol to a person under 21 years old. Although a fraternity member admitted to selling beer at the party and Kycia had a blood-alcohol level of .17 at the time of his death, the fraternity claims that none of its members served Kycia any drugs or alcohol.
Patrick's father later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university, the local fraternity, its national chapter, the owner of the fraternity house and eight people who were convicted of alcohol-related offenses connected to Kycia's death. As of 11/18/06, one of the fraternity brothers, James Joseph Sander Jr., agreed to settle. He denies liability for Kycia's death but agreed he's responsible for $1 million in damages, which is supposed to be paid by the insurance company insuring Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity's national chapter and its members. Sander pleaded guilty last December to providing alcohol to minors. He was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 180 days in jail with all but two days stayed, receiving credit for the two days he had already served in jail.
Facts of Interest in This Case
Name/age: Patrick Kycia, 19 (from Stillwater, MN)
College: Minnesota State University-Moorhead
Physical description: 6'1," 230 #
Last seen: 09/23/05, Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity party
Recovered: 09/27/05, Red River
Cause of death: drowning
Manner of death: no information
Injuries: no signs of trauma or foul play
Blood Alcohol Content: 0.174