Wiant

Provided photo of Collin L. Wiant.

An autopsy and coroner’s verdict was released Wednesday in relation to the death of an Ohio University student at an off-campus rooming house last November.

The verdict, completed by Athens County Coroner Dr. Carl Ortman, ruled that Collin Wiant’s death resulted from asphyxiation due to nitrous-oxide ingestion, and lists the manner of death as “accidental.”

Wiant, 18, of Dublin, Ohio, a pledge of the Epsilon chapter of fraternity Sigma Pi, was found unresponsive at 45 Mill St., a rooming house that’s allegedly an unofficial annex of that fraternity chapter, on Nov. 12, The NEWS previously reported. OU initiated a cease-and-desist order for all organizational activities for the fraternity chapter a few days later, and Wiant’s family has filed a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against the fraternity chapter and its international organization.

The suit alleges that Wiant was the victim of hazing by the fraternity, and was provided with, or forced to take, “illegal drugs containing nitrous oxide” by fraternity members, with small canisters of nitrous oxide found near his body (commonly referred to as “whippets”)

The coroner’s report states that Wiant died in the emergency department of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital at 3:34 a.m. on Nov. 12.

The autopsy report, completed by Dr. Kent E. Harshbarger, Montgomery County coroner, notes a “history of carbon-dioxide cartridges near (Wiant’s) body” and says he suffered a “frothy pulmonary edema” and tested positive for nitrous oxide in his blood.

The toxicology report lists the presence of ethanol (alcohol), THC (marijuana) and nitrous oxide in the young man’s blood.

An Athens Police Department investigation is ongoing into Wiant’s death, Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said last week.

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