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A death in Indiana: Wabash

LInk to story

Wabash College freshman found dead at fraternity

The Associated Press

Police in Indiana say a college freshman was found dead over the weekend in his fraternity house and suspect that alcohol was involved.Officials say 18-year-old Johnny D. Smith had pledged to the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at all-male Wabash College. The Tucson, Ariz., native lived at the fraternity house but had not yet been initiated.

Smith’s mother told The Indianapolis Star that her son was found Sunday morning face down in a pool of vomit.

Jim Russell, the fraternity’s national executive vice president, declined to say whether there was a party at the fraternity the night before Smith’s death.

An autopsy was pending.

Wabash College is 40 miles northwest of Indianapolis.


By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily--http://realalaskadaily.com and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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