PULLMAN - The Pullman Police Department has completed its investigation into the death of a Washington State University student who died of acute alcohol intoxication at his fraternity house in 2019.
19-year-old Samuel Hector Martinez of Bellevue died at the Alpha Tau Omega house during the early morning hours of November 12, 2019. The Whitman County Coroner determined that Martinez died from acute alcohol intoxication finding that the manner of death was accidental. Coroner Annie Pillers also ruled that Martinez died 4 hours before paramedics were called to the house.
Pullman Police interviewed over 75 people as part of their investigation. Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins had the following comments about the extensive investigation:
"Obviously this is a very serious case involving the death of a university student. We definitely wanted to be extremely thorough with this investigation. There were a lot of people that we needed to interview. The logistics of the interviews sometimes adds a lot of time on to an investigation, and then there were also some forensic elements that added to the timeline as well. While we want to get the investigation done as quickly as possible, we also want to be as thorough as possible, so all of those factors add in to the timeline of this investigation."
The case was sent to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office late last month for a charging decision. The Pullman PD is not releasing what charges they are recommending and note that the decision is up to the prosecutor’s office. Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy says he expects to make a charging decision in the near future.
The ATO house at WSU has lost its recognition for 6 years. Martinez’s family is suing the Pullman ATO chapter, some of its members, the fraternity and WSU in King County Superior Court.