After 18-year-old Ohio University freshman Collin Wiant died in an alleged hazing incident at an off-campus house associated with a fraternity, his parents are warning of the dangers of pledging to the popular social organizations.
Wiant, an honor-roll student, died from inhaling nitrous oxide in November 2018, according to the coroner. Wiant's hazing also allegedly included being beaten with a belt, forced to take drugs like cocaine and Xanax, and forced to drink 1.75 liters of vodka in 60 minutes.
Inside Edition spoke to the student’s grieving parents, Kathleen and Wade, who issued a stark warning to other parents, saying, "If this can happen to our son it can happen to anybody."
His father added, "It is such a huge void in our lives because our kids were so close."
"When we received that knock on the door from the police officer at 5:30 in the morning, that will forever be the dividing point in our lives of the before and after,” Kathleen said. “It has changed us forever.”
Inhaling nitrous oxide can cause fits of laughter, but it can also cut off oxygen to the brain and heart. The gas can be sold in canisters for legal purposes, such as those used in pressurized whipped cream cans. But, in most states, inhaling the gas recreationally is a crime.
Collin Wiant's body was allegedly found surrounded by nitrous oxide canisters.
The three of the nine men charged in Collin's death appeared in court Tuesday. They are all current or former students of the university and pleaded not guilty to a variety of charges.