Police have charged four men, including two Virginia State University students, with misdemeanor hazing after two students apparently drowned in an initiation rite for the group “Men of Honor.” Seven VSU students in total were taking part in the initiation when they were swept away by the current in the Appomattox River. Five men were pulled to safety but two apparently drowned, although at this writing only one body has been found.
The group Men of Honor is not affiliated with the university. A spokesperson for the university told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Men of Honor was “an underground, shadow organization.”
A statement released by the university of Monday read, “Virginia State University regrets to inform our community that two VSU freshmen, Jauwan Holmes and Marvell Edmonson, have been reported missing following an incident at the Appomattox River in Petersburg. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of our students. We ask the VSU community to come together during this time and to offer one another support and strength.”
Monday evening police recovered the body of Marvell Edmonson. He was 19 years old.
Update: Police found a second body, believed to be that of VSU student Jauwan Holmes on Wednesday April 24.