PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) — Police arrested three men and sought a fourth Tuesday after two Virginia State University freshmen were swept away while trying to cross a swift, rain-swollen river as part of an initiation rite.
The body of one freshman, identified as Marvell Edmonson, 19, of Portsmouth, was recovered Monday. The search continued Tuesday for the second, Jauwan M. Holmes, 19, of Newport News.
The four suspects are connected to an organization known as “Men of Honor” that conducted an initiation Saturday that required seven male VSU students to walk through the rushing rapids of the Appomattox River, police said. While some were pulled to safety, two were swept away.
Chesterfield County police identified the three in custody as James A. Mackey Sr., 35, of suburban Richmond; Eriq K. Benson, 19, of Quinton; and Cory D. Baytop, 26, of Newport News. Each has been charged with five counts of hazing. Police were seeking Charles E. Zollicoffer II, 29. An address was not provided.
Benson and Baytop are VSU students. Benson’s attorney did not immediately return a telephone message. It was not clear if the other suspects had attorneys.
Police Lt. Randy Horowitz described Men of Honor as a social club or “group whose mission is to build the character of young men.” He said he was not familiar with the organization beyond that, and said it was not sanctioned by VSU.
University spokesman Thomas Reed said Men of Honor was not affiliated with VSU and he could provide no additional information on it. Students are provided with information about sanctioned groups on the campus, he said.
Reed declined to discuss the arrests or the two students accused, citing the investigation. He acknowledged that the school has had problems with hazing in the past and has taken steps to eliminate it.
In April, the president of the student government association was charged with hazing related to an incident off campus in neighboring Petersburg in August 2012.
In 2009, six VSU students and two nonstudents were accused of hazing after another student sought medical treatment for severe bruising. In a plea agreement, the defendants agreed to prepare and present information sessions for students at VSU in exchange for the eventual dismissal of the charges.
The historically black university has about 5,300 students in Ettrick, about 25 miles south of Richmond.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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