UAPD search warrants detail UA freshman death investigation

Colonia de La Paz dorm
Colonia de La Paz dorm

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The University of Arizona Police Department has filed search warrants as a part of its investigation in a UA freshman's death at a residence hall.

Michael Anderson died after he fell from a cooling tower that he was climbing at the Colonia de la Paz residence hall on the UA campus last Friday.

UAPD public information officer Filbert Barrera said the death is still considered an accident but detectives will look into every factor in the hours before Anderson's death.

Court records show UAPD detectives requested a search warrant for Anderson's dorm room, where they found a bag of what appeared to be marijuana and two smoke pipes. Detectives are also reviewing records in Anderson's cell phone, iPad and laptop for evidence relating to his death.

Detectives also requested a search warrant at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, commonly known as Fiji. The documents state that detectives are reviewing surveillance video from the frat house to confirm whether a party took place there the night before Anderson's death. Detectives will also check to see if Anderson was present at the suspected party and whether alcohol was served to minors.

Inconsistent accounts of the timing of Anderson's whereabouts and what happened that night led detectives to pursue the search warrant, the documents stated.

UA Dean of Students Kendal Washington White said Fiji has been recently placed on probation for violating the university's code of conduct after school officials confirmed the fraternity hosted "unregistered" parties at the frat house in August and October of 2013. Washington White said unregistered parties include those that serve alcohol to underage students.

"Part of the conditions of probation is that any additional, proven violation of the student code of conduct could result in loss of recognition for that organization, which is tremendous because it means they won't have access to resources for all of our clubs and organizations," Washington White said.

School officials said they will not take any potential disciplinary action until they receive a full report from UAPD on its investigation.

Fiji leadership declined to comment on the investigation and directed media requests to its national headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.

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