CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA—Virginia State University held a memorial service Friday for the two freshmen who died after disappearing Saturday in the Appomattox River in what Chesterfield County Police called a pledging ritual.
A body pulled from the river Wednesday was identified Friday as that of 19-year-old Jauwan M. Holmes.
Police say Holmes and a second student, 19-year-old Marvell Edmondson, disappeared while crossing the cold, swift-moving river during a pledging ritual early Saturday morning.
Edmondson's body was recovered from the river Monday.
The two were with a group who entered the river around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, but witnesses said the two men never came out of the river. They were last seen in the river north of the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge.
Virginia State University president Dr. Keith Miller offered condolences to families of both of the victims. Students held a vigil for the missing men Sunday.
The university held individual and group counseling sessions for students beginning Monday, April 22 at 9:00 a.m. in Foster Hall, room 200.
Chesterfield Police and Fire, Colonial Heights Police and Fire, Virginia State Police, and Virginia State University Police searched the river for five days.
Saturday's incident isn't the first time VSU students have died as part of an initiation process. In 1979, two VSU (then called Virginia State College) drowned in the Appomattox River while taking part in an initiation "going over" ritual, according to the book "Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing and Binge Drinking" by Hank Nuwer.
Anyone with additional information about this incident should contact the Chesterfield County Police department at 748-1251.
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