CSUN student dies after hiking trip in Angeles National Forest

Andrew Martinez

UPDATE: The Pi Kappa Phi National Fraternity announced it has suspended its Zeta Mu Chapter at CSUN following Villa’s death in a press release Thursday.

A CSUN student has died after passing out on a fraternity hiking trip in the Angeles National Forest Tuesday.

Armando Villa, 19, was hiking near Big Tujunga Canyon road when they ran out of water and Villa passed out, said Nicole Nishida, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

After he passed out, Villa’s friends reached out to a forest ranger who helped transport Villa to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 5:30 p.m. according to a press release by the Sheriff’s Department.

According to a press release by Justin Angotti, assistant executive director of education and accountability at Pi Kappa Phi, the hiking trip “was a new member activity involving three student members and five associate members,” one of the associate members being Villa.

Potential violations of Pi Kappa Phi’s hazing and risk management policy are being investigated by the fraternity, Angotti said in the press release.

“Should the student chapter or individual members be found in violation of Pi Kappa Phi’s standards of conduct through our discipline process, they will be held accountable by the national fraternity,” said Mark E. Timmes, Chief Executive Officer of Pi Kappa Phi in the press release.

The Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is conducting an accidental death investigation, with a potential cause of death by heat exhaustion or heat stroke to be determined by the LA County coroner’s office, Nishida said.

The university is conducting it’s own administrative investigation into the incident and Pi Kappa Phi has been ordered to suspend all activities until the outcome of the investigation.

President Dianne Harrison reached out to Armando’s family on Wednesday and expressed her own personal condolences as well as condolences on behalf of the university, according to Carmen Ramos Chandler, director of media relations at CSUN.

More updates to come.