ISU student 'was just so up all the time'

Photo provided

On stage: Yiorgo Karnezis performs in Munster Theatre Company’s production of “Cinderella” last spring. Karnezis, a freshman at Indiana State University, died Oct. 23 during a fraternity event in Clark County, Illinois.

The death of Indiana State University student Yiorgo S. Karnezis is "consistent with accidental drowning," according to the Clark County, Illinois, Sheriff's Department, which has concluded its investigation.

Karnezis, a freshman from Munster, died Oct. 23 after a Sigma Chi fraternity overnight social event near Marshall, Illinois.

Karnezis, who had fallen from a boat into a pond in rural Dennison, was recovered from the pond and taken to Terre Haute Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Vigo County coroner said his death was consistent with accidental drowning, and toxicology results were pending.

The case is not being forwarded to the Clark County state's attorney, said deputy Michael W. Duvall, who investigated the case. "We don't believe there was anything criminal we would seek charges on."

It would be up to the state's attorney if he wants to review the case, Duvall said. When contacted, the office of state's attorney Dennis Simonton referred the Tribune-Star back to the sheriff's department.

Duvall, who spoke to a number people and interviewed eyewitnesses, says the death is "consistent with accidental drowning. I know there were a lot of rumors going around. I had a few eyewitnesses ... saw him get into the boat under his own power, not as some of the rumors stated."

The social event occurred on East Jones Road in Dennison. When Duvall arrived at the scene, he said about 60 to 70 people were there at a "private campground-type area."

On the east side of the property was a pond, with a pavilion/camp area on the north side of the pond. Numerous tents were set up in various spots around the pond.

"While speaking to the persons present, I observed that alcoholic beverages were present at the gathering, and that numerous persons appeared to have varying degrees of intoxication," Duvall wrote in his report.

The report indicates that once students became aware Karnezis was in the water, they made efforts to try and find him and retrieve him from the water, without success.

In subsequent interviews, Duvall interviewed two students who had reported seeing Karnezis sitting in a vehicle.

One of them reported they then "helped" Karnezis out of the vehicle and began walking around. That student indicated Karnezis asked if anybody had been out on the water, and the student told Karnezis they had been, earlier.

Karnezis "insisted on getting into a boat and going out on the pond," the student told Duvall. The two students then "helped the victim into the boat; the victim then asked them to push the boat into the water. After pushing the boat into the water, [the two students] turned and walked away. A short time later people were yelling that the victim was not in the boat."

Duvall talked to the second student who saw Karnezis in a vehicle and walked around with him. In his police report, Duvall stated, "While walking around, they went towards the pond; [Karnezis] then wanted to go out on the pond. The victim then got into the boat, with [two students] pushing the boat from land into the pond. They then heard people yelling that the boat had flipped."

The student interviewed said he jumped into the pond but couldn't locate the victim.

Another student reported sitting by the fire and seeing Karnezis sitting in the boat, drifting in the pond and talking to others on the shore. The student "then heard people screaming and splashing from people in the water. He reported seeing the boat turned over in the middle of the pond."

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

Sue Loughlin has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star for more than 30 years. She covers general news with a focus on education.