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Where and when: San Luis Obispo paper says police zero on area house looking for clues in death. Two arrests not connected to hazing.

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San Luis Obispo police have released the address of the San Luis Obispo home where an 18-year-old Cal Poly freshman was found unresponsive after a fraternity-related party.

The night before he died, Carson Starkey attended a party hosted by Sigma Alpha Epsilon at 551 Highland Dr.

Police are investigating the role that alcohol played in the tragedy and say that preliminary evidence indicates the fraternity was conducting hazing during Starkey’s initiation into the organization. Police are investigating the role that alcohol may have played in the death and they’re awaiting toxicology results.

Nathan Ellison Sandler, 21, of San Luis Obispo, was arrested Dec. 6 on suspicion of cultivating marijuana. He was booked into County Jail and later released after posting $20,000 bail.

The department has served nine search warrants at nine locations in connection with their investigation, including the Highland home and Starkey’s dorm room.

During the warrant searches, police arrested two residents of a home on Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo on allegations that are not related to the hazing investigation, according to Capt. Dan Blanke.

They are Charles Timothy Farrell, 21, of San Luis Obispo, and Nathan Ellison Sandler, 21, of San Luis Obispo.

Farrell was arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine and marijuana and Sandler on suspected cultivation of marijuana.

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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