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Death of Cornell University student: Family offers a $ 10,000 prize for information



The Tsialas family made a full-page ad in The Cornell Daily Sun, a student daily newspaper, on Monday and Tuesday asking students for help, family lawyer David Bianchi told CNN in an interview on Sunday.

Tsialas, an 18-year-old freshman from Miami, was last seen on October 24 – the same day he and other first-year students attended the "unregistered fraternity-sponsored event" where alcohol was served, University President Martha E. Pollack wrote in statement posted on the school website.
Tsialas was reported missing the following day, University Vice President for Campus Life and Ryan Lombardi said in another message to students. His body was found on October 26 inside Fall Creek Gorge, which is part of the university's botanical garden, after an extensive search, Lombardi said.

There was no suspected fraud, Lombardi said. An autopsy is waiting, Bianchi said.

Authorities, including Cornell University Police, are investigating, Lombardi and Police Chief Dave Honan said in a joint statement earlier this month.

Honan said the authorities had received more than 150 leads. Several subpoenas have been issued, Honan said.

In his statement, President Pollack wrote, "Although we do not yet have a definitive answer about the cause of his death, it was widely known that an unregistered fraternity-sponsored event took place on October 24, that alcohol was served, and the first time it was served – years of students, including Mr. Tsialas, present. "

Pollack said that the events "unfortunately followed the pattern of wrong behavior in the Greek letter system." He said over the past two years, "many fraternities have been found to have been involved in violations during that time which were sufficient to suspend their recognition by the university."

In an e-mail on Sunday night, President of the Cornell Interfaith Council Cristian Gonzalez raised a question with Cornell University Police.

A few days after Tsialas' body was discovered, the Cornell fraternity "strongly" decided to suspend all registered social events planned for the weekend after Halloween, The Cornell Daily Sun reported. Gonzalez told the newspaper that the decision was triggered by Tsialas death.

"We believe that it would be rude and wrong to celebrate this weekend given Antonio's death," Gonzalez said in a message on the paper later.

Then, IFC universities banned almost all social events for the fall semester, with exceptions such as in-house chapters with licensed bartenders and security, The Daily Sun reported.
"We have an obligation to protect the safety of our members, our guests and the larger Cornell community and we believe that taking this action allows us to withdraw and reassess our shortcomings and implement major changes," said the ban, which was commissioned by more from two dozen fraternal presidents.

Bianchi said the last time Tsialas's mother saw him was when they had dinner on the night of October 24 at an off-campus restaurant. Ms. Tsialas visits the campus for the university's "Parents Weekend" and her father is scheduled to arrive the next day.

"What began as a beautiful weekend with our son Antonio turned into our worst nightmare," his mother, Flavia Tsialas, said in a recent Facebook post.

He remembers "she was very cheerful" when they met for dinner.

"We talked about how happy he was at Cornell and all his exciting future plans," he said. Tsialas is a student at the College of Arts and Sciences, the university said.

Bianchi said the Tsialas family "was very sad because this brotherhood would host a party that broke the rules." He suspected the fraternity served alcohol to first-year underage students.

"Antonio was drunk, left the program and then he disappeared and we don't know exactly how he died," Bianchi said. "We hope … that people will provide information starting that night."

Monica Haider and Darran Simon from CNN contributed to this report.


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