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Nov 17, 2017

TABC Investigating Death of Texas State University Student

SAN MARCOS – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has opened an investigation into the Nov. 13 death of Texas State University student Matthew Ellis. Ellis, a 20-year-old pledge with the university's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, was pronounced dead at a San Marcos apartment following a fraternity event the night before.

"This is an incredibly tragic event, and TABC extends its sympathies to the family, friends, and classmates of Matthew Ellis," TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly said. "I want the Texas State community to know that TABC is working to determine what role, if any, alcohol may have played in Matthew's death, and that we will vigorously pursue any violations that may have contributed to cutting this young man's life short."

TABC is working with local investigators to determine the source of any alcohol that may have been involved in Ellis' death, according to TABC Executive Director A. Bentley Nettles.

"If it is found that alcohol played a role in this event, we will expand our investigation to identify any retailers who may have violated the law by selling to a minor or an intoxicated person," Nettles said. "These violations constitute an extremely serious risk to public safety, and TABC will punish any parties involved to the fullest extent of the law."

Selling alcohol to a minor or intoxicated person can result in penalties up to and including cancellation of a business's liquor license as well as jail time for the employee who made the sale.

Lilly said TABC is also committed to working with local police and other groups to educate the public on the dangers of binge drinking.

"So-called 'traditions,' such as forcing a fraternity pledge to overconsume alcohol, have no place at a university," Lilly said. "Regardless of the outcome of this investigation, TABC will proactively work with universities and law enforcement across Texas to combat and raise awareness of this senseless activity."

Contact: Chris Porter TABC Public Information Officer (512) 206-3462