Alcohol may have played role in death of Texas State student from Humble

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KTRK) -- Matthew "Matt" Ellis was found dead in an off-campus apartment near Texas State University.

The 20-year-old sophomore from Humble was a 2016 graduate of Atascocita High School, where he played on the tennis team.

Ellis was found unresponsive at the apartment complex late Monday morning. Within an hour, he was pronounced dead.

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We're learning new details about Matthew Ellis, the Texas State University student who died at an off-campus apartment on Monday.

Preliminary findings indicate alcohol may have been a factor in his death, but San Marcos police are awaiting results of a toxicology tests.

"It's really too early in the investigation so at this point we're investigating," San Marcos Police Commander Kelly Bomersbach said. "It's a very active case. So it's very presumptive to say that criminal charges are likely."

Ellis was a pledge of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Texas State University. Police said the fraternity had a social gathering on Sunday, hours before Ellis' body was found.

Texas State University said Wednesday officials were aware of issues with the fraternity.

Last month, a spokesperson said a complaint was filed against Phi Kappa Psi.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss the details of the complaint because it's an allegation at this point," Texas State University spokesperson Matt Flores said. "Until there is a finding we can't say anything."

It wasn't just the university looking into the fraternity, its national chapter suspended the San Marcos branch last week.

Phi Kappy Psi won't say why, but released a statement:

"We are heartbroken by the death of Texas State University student and Phi Kappa Psi new member Matthew Ellis," said Phi Kappa Psi Executive Director Mark Guidi. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and the entire TSU student body during this difficult time. The chapter had been suspended by Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, Inc. last week for unrelated matters, and will remain suspended while the investigation continues. Phi Kappa Psi will continue to work closely with the TSU administration and law enforcement during their review of this matter, and have advised all members to cooperate fully. "

Students at Texas State were shocked to learn of the death.

"We're all here to learn, all here to better ourselves, and to have someone die in the process of doing that, with or without alcohol, should be a kind of focal point and focusing on what's going on here," one student said. "What's really the attitude we want associated with our university?"

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We're learning new details about Matthew Ellis, the Texas State University student who died at an off-campus apartment on Monday.

A candlelight vigil will be held at Texas State University tonight at 7 p.m.

The tragedy also hit hard for Ellis' former coach.

Atascocita High School coach Thomas Lowe said he had a smile, and personality that lit up the room.

"Whenever he walked into a room everyone would always asking him, 'What are you smiling about, Matt?' He was like, 'Hey, I'm here. It's a good day.' He was just that type of kid," Lowe said. "He would walk into a room and a lot of times you'd say, 'Well, Matt's here now."

Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth has suspended all Greek fraternity and sorority chapters at Texas State as a result of the tragedy.

Trauth's office released the following statement:

As president of Texas State University, I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of one of our students who attended an off-campus social event on Sunday evening hosted by members of a university fraternity. Following a call from friends, officers with the San Marcos Police Department found Matthew Ellis, a Phi Kappa Psi pledge, unresponsive on Monday morning at an apartment off campus. He was pronounced dead after EMS personnel were unable to revive him. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and the Texas State Community.

As a result of this tragedy, I have suspended activities of all Greek fraternity and sorority chapters at Texas State. These chapters are prohibited from holding new-member events, chapter meetings, social functions, and philanthropic activities until a thorough review of the Greek Affairs system is completed.

I have asked Dr. Joanne Smith, Vice President for Student Affairs, who has responsibility for the Greek Affairs system, to immediately initiate this review and propose recommendations for reinstating fraternity and sorority chapters that demonstrate a commitment to the core values of Texas State and the ideals established by their respective national organizations.

It is imperative that our entire university community develop a culture that places the highest priority on the safety of its students, faculty, and staff.

Denise M. Trauth

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