Family and friends of VCU freshman Adam Oakes seek justice for his death

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A teenager described by family and friends as “loving” and “empathetic” tragically died over the weekend during at an event held by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Delta Chi fraternity.

Adam Oakes’ family shared more about who he was as a person with 8News, as well as provided just how much he meant to the people around him.

“Everyone in this family is devastated,” his father, Eric Oakes said. “He is all we had. He is everything we had in our life. We had one child, he’s a lovely kid. He just totally enjoyed life.”

Oakes’ father is in shock by the death of his 19-year-old son.

The Oakes family is from Loudon County in Northern Virginia — where the teen attended high school at Potomac Falls and graduated in 2020.

A lover of sports, his family said Oakes was a dedicated fan and got the chance to high-five Kevin Durant.

Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin, said he was full of love.

“He was sweet, he was so sweet,” White said. “He had the biggest heart. He would literally give you the shirt off his back.”

College life for Adam consisted of studying, spending time in his dorm and joining a fraternity. His family told 8News that the freshman was so excited to receive a bid from Delta Chi.

“He just felt so accepted that he wanted to impress them and be part of the brotherhood,” E. Oakes said.

Although the circumstances surrounding the teen’s sudden death have not been confirmed by police as of Monday, his family believes he may have been hazed.  

“What we are hearing right now is that he drank a handle of Jack Daniel’s,” White said. “The kids told us the names of the ‘bigs,’ they told us more information than the police did.”

Adam’s roommate, Alec Cardullo-Munoz spoke to 8News and remembered when Oakes received his bid into Delta Chi.

“He came into the room all giddy and said the president gave him a bid,” Munoz said. “He just wanted to feel accepted and be with these guys.”

The two went to school together at Potomac Falls and became friends their senior year. Once they found out they both were going to attend VCU, they signed up to be roommates.

“I just feel broken that was one of my closest friends,” Cardullo-Munoz said. “He knew so much stuff about me.”

Cardullo-Munoz said he requested an extension to his schoolwork with VCU to grieve about the loss of his roommate and it was granted to him.

The Oakes family said that their son’s legacy will live on. 

The death investigation is still ongoing by Richmond Police Department and VCUPD. Stay with 8News for the latest updates.

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