Police in Geneseo are investigating the death of a sophomore State University of New York student whose body was found Sunday in an off-campus fraternity house.
Alex Davis, 20, a 2012 graduate of Victor High School in Ontario County and a SUNY Geneseo lacrosse player, was discovered on a couch in an upper-floor bedroom of the Phi Sigma Xi fraternity house at 72 Center St. in the village.
Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian said members of the fraternity who found Davis initially believed he was sleeping. When it became apparent to them that Davis was not breathing, 911 was called and an ambulance was summoned at 5:45 p.m., Osganian said.
Davis was a member of the fraternity but lived on campus in the Wyoming Hall dormitory, Osganian said.
The Livingston County coroner declared Davis dead at the scene, but a cause was not immediately determined.
Osganian said the body was taken to the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office, where it will undergo an autopsy.
"Since no one was present when he actually passed away, we're at a loss to say how he passed away," Osganian said.
The fraternity, known as Phig, earned a reputation as a drug house when a police raid in April 2011 turned up cocaine and marijuana and resulted in the arrests of eight people.
Osganian said investigators are not ruling out drug use in Davis' death, but added that no drugs were found on Davis and there was no obvious evidence of drugs at the scene. Fraternity members have been questioned.
SUNY Geneseo Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio issued a statement to the campus community early Monday that described Davis as a biochemistry major, a dedicated lacrosse player and a "sometimes shy young man who lit up when talking about family and friends."
Davis is survived by his parents, Debbie and Bob Davis, of Victor, and an older brother, according to the statement.
"While very few details about the circumstances related to his death are known to the college at this time, we do know that he was found in an off-campus house at the time of his passing," Sancilio said.
David Pevsner, a SUNY Geneseo senior and president of Phi Sigma Xi, said the fraternity has worked hard to overcome its notoriety.
"I cleaned house and transitioned us away from what we made the news for three years ago," Pevsner, 22, said. "We've stayed away from any issues. We've not had drugs in the house, and, until unfortunately yesterday, we've had no police officers at the house."
He said the fraternity did not host any social events over the weekend.
Pevsner declined to comment on Davis' death, citing respect and privacy for Davis' family and the fraternity.
"All we can really rely on is one another and all of Alex's friends who have reached out to us," Pevsner said of the fraternity. "We're just all trying to stay together as one cohesive unit. We are each other's support unit right now."
Geneseo students and others who knew Davis took to Twitter and Facebook to express their condolences.
Liz Montemorano, 19, grew up down the street from Davis in Victor and frequented Champion Hills Country Club there, where he had worked as a lifeguard.
She recalled Davis as an easy-going and diligent student-athlete who could be counted on for sound advice and thoughtful conversation.
"With some people, you see them and you talk about the same old things," said Montemorano, now a student at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. "With Alex, it was easy to talk about anything."
"Whenever I was upset, he could always make me laugh," she added.
A man who answered the phone at the Davis residence in Victor and identified himself as Davis' uncle declined to comment.