DEATH … AND A COVER-UP
|| By FITSNEWS || There were two huge developments this week in the case of Tucker Hipps … the 19-year-old Clemson University student who died last September after an “unsupported fall” from a bridge near the Upstate, South Carolina college campus. Hipps was on an early morning run with his fraternity brothers when the incident occurred.
The first big development in the case? Wrongful death litigation brought by Hipps’ parents against three of his Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers (including a Congressman’s son), the fraternity and against Clemson. Earlier this week we wrote in detail earlier about the particulars of the suit … which claimed Clemson’s “culture of hazing” contributed to Hipps’ death, and that his “unsupported fall” was covered up by his fraternity “brothers.”
The second big development? An announcement from Upstate solicitor Chrissy Adams indicating the investigation into Hipps’ death has been transferred to her office’s “unsolved crimes” file.
How come? Because according to Adams, law enforcement has exhausted all of its leads in the case – meaning the investigation is officially at a “standstill.”
“Tucker Hipps’ death is a terrible tragedy,” Adams said. “This young man will not, and must not be forgotten. His family deserves answers. His family and those who knew and loved him deserve to know the circumstances surrounding his untimely death. I can only hope and pray that anyone with information will find the strength to come forward, for the sake of the family and in Tucker’s memory.”
Is that seriously where we’re at with this case?
Surely Adams can do better than that … after all, the lawsuit filed by Hipps’ family clearly implicates three of his fraternity brothers in a cover-up of his death. And references a dispute – over breakfast biscuits of all things – which precipitated Hipps’ “unsupported fall.”
And as our exclusive report last December revealed, there are those who have information on Hipps’ fall – and how it might have been a case of hazing gone tragically awry.
The truth is out there, in other words … in fact it’s not just out there, it’s practically staring everybody in the face.
We don’t believe Hipps’ fraternity brothers deliberately killed him. In fact, they may not have even intended for him to go over the side of the bridge on that early fall morning six months ago.
But Hipps did go over the edge … and once it happened, the cover-up became the crime. Rather than be true “brothers,” these self-serving punks decided it was every “man” for himself.
So they lied about what happened. They waited for hours to report Hipps missing. They deleted their cell phone histories. They withheld information from investigators.
And the worst part? They’re still covering it up … and getting away with it.
“No one saw (him) go off the bridge,” investigators claim.
Local law enforcement (which has a reputation for taking care of Clemson) hasn’t done much better. After this website reported that fraternity hazing was involved (sparking a firestorm of controversy at the school), the Oconee County sheriff lambasted us for spreading “speculation” and “innuendo.”
“There has been no indication in the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office investigation that hazing played a part in the death of Tucker Hipps,” the cops said.
Clemson? Its president held a vigil for Hipps … but the school (desperate to avoid negative publicity) has been no more helpful than Sigma Phi Epsilon in terms of getting to the bottom of the case. And now that it’s a party to a lawsuit it doesn’t have to even pretend anymore … it can hide behind blanket refusals to comment on “pending legislation.”
The whole thing is a colossal failure … on every level: A sad case study of individuals and institutions running scared from simple truths.
Up in Washington, D.C., U.S. Rep John Carney – whose son is one of the defendants in the wrongful death suit – issued a joint statement with his wife saying their advice to their son has been “to tell the truth and remember any detail that might help” investigators.
With each day that passes the truth slips further away. And one day that truth – like Tucker Hipps – will be gone. Totally vanished. Unrecoverable.
Is that “brotherhood?” Is it “law enforcement?”
In the immediate aftermath of Hipps’ death, Sigma Phi Epsilon released a statement vowing to investigate the hazing rumors related to Hipps’ death and to “see that those responsible are brought to justice.”
It has not done that.
Instead, Sig Ep “brothers” are being allowed to lie, deny and hide.
“[A]fter all, the lawsuit filed by Hipps’ family clearly implicates three of his fraternity brothers in a cover-up of his death.”
While they very well may be guilty, can we please correctly acknowledge what a civil summons and complaint stands for? All you’ve been provided with is merely the plaintiff’s claims and allegations (carefully crafted, might I add). Once the defense replies with its answer, and subsequently, discovery, then we can actually begin to discuss what/who is “implicated.”
That’s the whole point of civil litigation. Let both sides have their day.
Actually pointing out facts, and not merely allegations, does not always work well for a pay per click web site.
After all, we’re only talking about Clemson (who the majority of his readers already hate) and Fits’s baby needs new shoes. Nobody loses, amiright?
Don’t let facts get in the way of a goof Clemson-bashing by FITS.
“which has a reputation for taking care of Clemson”
Shockingly, this was not a link to another story you made somehow proving how Clemson is getting away with crimes.
Oh yeah…everyone in Columbia just knows it happens, right?
You people have taken rivalry a bit too far.
Obviously SLED, based on Folks “logic”, also has a “reputation for taking care of Clemson” since they also participated in the investigation.
A boy is dead, so why don’t you post a football score again, jackass. When this idiot E Norma Scok (who is so delusional that nothing bad ever happens at Clemson) writes “You people have taken rivalry a bit too far,” he should be talking to you.
Perhaps you neglected my response on the other “story”. That was NOT me but obviously one of Folks sophomoric buddies who used my name. As I said earlier, when Mace was doing this site, she had a fix so children couldn’t hijack your name. Now the alleged “free market” libertarian Folks tries to force you to join Disqus so he can track you. This is the same Folks who is so afraid that the NSA tracks him. The hypocrite. Also Folks wants to control who votes a post up or down as you have to log in which means Disqus. Folks is a charlatan.
Besides, a school as perfect as Clemson doesn’t need to defend itself. We are the best. As we like to sing here:
“Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream
Everything is better when we stick together
Side by side, you and I gonna win forever, let’s party forever
We’re the same, I’m like you, you’re like me, we’re all working in harmony
Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream.”
There’s no delusion that nothing bad ever happens at Clemson on my part; there are also no concerns of an ongoing conspiracy to cover up anything that happens at Clemson.
The delusional ones here are determined to believe that anytime something bad does happen at Clemson, the press, the police, and the entire upstate are “in on the fix” to cover it all up.
seems to me that they need a Jack Bauer type of interrogation!
I have been on group exercises. I have witnessed individuals being signaled out and dressed down.
Everyone in that group saw/heard the young fella being given hell because he failed to buy a bunch of damn biscuits
Everyone in that group returned to their nest knowing full well the young fella was not in the group
Everyone in that group spent the next 5 to 6 hours scrubbing their phones, rehearsing their lies and building their wall of silence while the young fella lay at the base of the bridge probably dead but with a chance he was still alive – none of them, not one single little son of bitch made an effort to help their brother
Everyone in that groups needs to be identified, their names and pictures published for all to see what type of person values a damn biscuit and brotherhood more than a life
Which was it, hazing or a personal dispute? Answer – you have no idea what happened. It’s possible that his fraternity brothers know exactly what happened to cause him to go off the bridge. It’s possible that they have no idea. It’s certain that neither Folks nor any of you know what happened.
having no first hand knowledge has never slowed Folks down before.
Nor any of the commenters.
I have no first hand knowledge that the world is not flat
I have no first hand knowledge that Ted Cruz shaves his body
I have no first hand knowledge of lot of shit
If first hand knowledge is a prerequisite to commenting, then what the fuck are you doing
However, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck – it is a fucking duck
Generally it’s one of the driving forces…
Nothing personal…but you need to stay the EFF away from this young man’s case…and his family.
We really don’t give a ____ what you think. You only dirty it w/ anything you say…
“…We really don’t give a ____ what you think…” – which is why we spend so much time here.
There, fixed it for you.
I remember when I had a website to push my own personal opinions and agendas.
The law enforcement, investigatory and prosecutorial powers of Oconee County and the State of South Carolina can’t “sweat” the truth out of some college boys? What’s SLED’s role in this? The Greenville News reported the Oconee County Sheriff’s spokesman disputing Ms. Adams’ statement. They claim the investigation is on-going. Is it? This stinks to high heaven.
Chrissy Adams, 1989 Clemson graduate.
ITS A CONSPIRACY!
You Columbia people aren’t supposed to know. They only give the secrets out to us Clemson grads!
You might consider taking some of your energy for defending Clempson over to Buzzfeed or Gawker, where hundreds of individuals are slamming the university.
Buzzfeed? 10 stars who aged badly? 25 ways to tell your wife hates you? Yell..I’ll get right over there.
I looked at the Gawker comments and they seemed legit to me. I looked at a few dozen and didn’t see any try to blame the University, the cops, the upstate, and every Clemson graduate.
E – there is only one “group” to blame for the events that led to Hipps’ death – that’s the boys of the Clemson chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
The rest of the swirling bovine excreta can justifiably be blamed on the University’s disjointed response to the events and “Buford T Justice’s” bumbling response to the death. I love poking fun at “Clempson” as much as anyone but those agencies responses transcend “poking fun” and range into the “criminally inept” area. No one here blames the average wearer of “purple and orange” or the majority of the faculty and administration.
Colonel, you are typically the most level headed of the posters, but I have to disagree with your last sentence. Read the comments.
Phycoforkpbin or whatever falls into the “Clemson sucks” category but I see a lot more people making similar comments to yours than those blaming all things Orange and Purple. Maybe I just haven’t gone far enough down.
Its not just in this article; its in the other two Fits had this week as well. And Fits, too, for that matter.
I don’t know what happened that day; I wasn’t there. And maybe Hipps took a nose dive off the bridge by himself. I don’t know that, either. Everything is hearsay. And after reading Adams statement, as vanilla as that may be..maybe there really is nothing here to tell.
I’m not sure what else the university could possibly do help find an answer–at this point its not really up to them.
I never relied on USC finding Dail Dinwiddie’s killer; I don’t think they had anything to do with it.
I think Clemson damaged themselves with their inarticulate response to this case. The difference between this and the Dail Dinwiddie case is that Clemson was on notice that there had been a series of “inappropriate” behaviors by a number of fraternities and sororities (remember Cripmas?). Their response was to fire an unpopular student affairs VP (DiSabatino) who had been trying to curb that very inappropriate behavior. Even their “mass suspension” of fraternities was viewed as knee jerk and unfocused and it was quickly set aside.
“Cripmas” didn’t kill anyone. Inappropriate? Maybe, I guess. It was an off campus party. How is the university (5 miles away) supposed to control what people of age do in their own homes. on weekends? Is college a big kindergarten?
Being a personnel matter, I have no idea why DiSabatino was fired. Word from people who work at the university said she never was liked much by her peers nor the students. In her position, that could do it. Do you know more about that from her supervisor and HR?
I bet DiSabatino and her lawyer would love for you to say yes…
The young man who died in Five Points last week was “off campus and a mile away on his on time” but the university immediately suspended the fraternity anyway.
What I understand to be accurate about DiSabatino came from my peer on the Clemson campus (a faculty member who is also an adviser to one of the fraternities). He said basically the same thing you did, that she was un-liked by students and administration, primarily because she was hard on some student organizations particularly fraternities.
I understood her to not just be hard, but ridiculous when it came to things that really didn’t even matter. Example: The weight lifting club was not allowed to use the “dungeon” (a more serious lower level gym at Fike, the recreation hall). No reasons were given, aside from previous unpleasant interactions with a few of the club members; ie retribution. Is that the way to be a student counselor?
After she was let go, the admin brought back the retired Almeda Jacks–who by all accounts is fair, and had successfully done that job for 20+ years before retiring. Apparently, DiSabatino was a bad hire, or at least a poor fit for that job. Anyone who has ever hired or promoted someone has had that happen. But blaming her for trying to calm the fraternities, and then being fired because she did and Fraternity alums threatened to pull their funding is not only ridiculous, but really, insulting. Which was the point I made earlier.
That’s “we” Clemson grads!
Sorry, but “us” is the object of the preposition “to”, which makes it correct. Maybe you should take freshman English at Clemson.
Nope. You’re wrong. Would you say, “Us Clemson grads are so smart?” Ooops, you probably would. I believe you took too many udder classes. Get it? HaHaHa.
Learn the difference between a direct object and a subject. You need remedial English.
Where did she get her law degree?
Here’s a link to her web page and her statement on the Hipps case. http://www.soli10th.com/news
Probably couldn’t get into a Tier I or II law school.
ha ha ha, funny thing, USC is a Tier 2 law school… Check number 95 there Squishy: http://law-schools.startclass.com/saved_search/Tier-2-Law-Schools
Here’s my solution: When the fraternity brothers decided to act in concert to cover up the events, they had in essence formed a criminal gang as defined as the state as “five or more persons who form for the purpose of committing criminal activity and who knowingly and actively participate in a pattern of criminal gang activity.” This distinction means that the Attorney General can refer the matter to the state grand jury, which unlike county grant juries, can subpoena witnesses and compel testimony. The cover-up would unravel quite quickly when you put a bunch of nervous college kids on the stand.
Using your defining the fraternity as a criminal organization invoke the RICO Act. Get the feds involved.
And that’s why you aren’t a federal prosecutor.
“Conflicting reports given on progress in Hipps case.” That headline from today’s Greenville News says it all. The investigation is being conducted by amateurs who do not even bother to communicate with one another.
The family should insist on federal intervention.
and what federal laws are involved here oh learned one?
Uh, violation of one’s civil rights, perhaps.
Meh, white on white.
Yes White people are definitely a persecuted Minority.
I certainly feel like I’m being persecuted…
Well, since the filing of the suit, either the “brothers” have wads of cash to defend themselves, or Mommy and Daddy have wads of cash, or big paid-off houses to mortgage, the tighter the squeeze, more likely someone will squeal. That this is a cold case when FITS has more information than the cops can get – is rather disgusting. Dragging this out doesn’t help Clemson too much.
All FITS has is what was stated in the lawsuit filing. The cops can read it too. Let’s don’t nominate FITS for a Pulitzer for that
Fits has disinformation unless he can back it up with first hand accounts and not hearsay.
Sad failure of law enforcement to do its job. Why would a kid dive head first off a bridge in the dark? Bust every damn one of the kids who were there until one of them rats out their “brothers” to keep his ass from getting pounded by a prison boyfriend…
Everybody knows he was murdered. Everybody knows big money is protecting the killers in this case. In due time, those boys and their parents will be in chains, I tell you. And nothing is going to stop it from happening. There are NO Statutes of Limitations on MURDER.
How are their parents responsible? Why should they “be in chains”?
I wasn’t there that day. I doubt you were either. You know as much about what really happened as I do: absolutely nothing.
I say a fund be set up that people can contribute to and hire a private investigator to do what obviously the Barney’s at the sheriff’s department can’t.
Haven’t seen any tox info on Hipps. Kid coulda been stinkin drunk, lost his balance and fell over the bridge. Just sayin’
Then you have not read enough! Toxicology came back CLEAN….not stinkin drunk, not stinkin high, not stinkin nothing! Tucker Hipps was a standup kid and deserves better than what is going on, his family and friends deserve better than this!
thanks for the information
His toxicology report showed there was no signs of alcohol or drugs in his system.
Toxicology report show he had no drugs in his system and none left from the night before.
With Fits and you idiots there is no need for law enforcement and the legal system. What a joke you all are!
Yeah very lemming behavior is exhibited when you get a group together that have learned to brainwash each other, as long as you are still breathing. This frat and most all frats have been in trouble over the many years of institutional education. How about the USC frat that fell off the train back in the 1990’s. A group hopped it for a quick ride back to campus, except it took off too fast and they went for a trip to Newberry. He fell off somewhere along the tracks out in the boonies. His frat brothers also notified authorities – after awhile. This Clemson frat had another death that I recall, that never hit the news wire, since it occurred far off campus and not during school session, and years before there were cell phones and the internet. All real sad…
The original petition in a civil suit contains allegations that something happened. Before filing a civil suit, lawyers must conduct an investigation into “their” allegations. Without factual evidence to support their allegations, a reasonable belief must be present. They cannot just add anything they want. In this situation, they obtained autopsy and toxicology reports, and submitted Freedom of Information requests to law enforcement and Clemson for their reports and records. Based on this collection of documents, they were legally able to make certain allegations and involve persons and entities to show their involvement and/or negligence in causing Tucker’s death. At the time of his death, Tucker was NOT under the influence of ANY intoxicating substance (legal or illegal); Tucker was confronted by one of the named defendants over not buying breakfast; a named defendant allegedly looked over the bridge using his flashlight on his cell phone to search for Tucker; the Fraternity submitted a request to have the run, never received a response from Clemson, but went ahead anyway with the run; this type of run was prohibited under the “Hazing” policies of Clemson; a named defendant texted Tucker’s girlfriend telling he was seen in the library to “buy” them time in locating him; others deleted texts from their phones and/or bought a new phone; Clemson had received numerous complaints of fraternities “hazing” pledges and did not take any action until AFTER Tucker’s death. Many, if not all of these allegations are supported by evidence. I encourage everyone to read the both lawsuits. This is not a family out for money. This is not a family to place blame on others for something their son did, or didn’t do. This is a family who wants closure – what happened and why? Law Enforcement couldn’t answer those questions. Now, one day after the lawsuit was filed, LE decides to reassign the case to the Unsolved Case Unit. They will wait for the lawyers to gather information to help them solve it because they couldn’t!
Most reasoned and thoughtful comment thus far. I have worked with the mother since before this kid was born. Two things her family loved, Clemson and Law enforcement. The mother has been President of local crime-stoppers several times. Now two things her family loves are related to this ongoing tragedy involving the the thing she loved the most. She just wants the truth, for closure, for her son.
You have said what I’ve been thinking the entire time. Brotherhood doesn’t leave their brother in the water and go cover up their tracks.
i heard the boy was dropped from the bridge by some frat guys who were too drunk.
Sigma Phi Epsilon has work to end pledging all together with many chapters ending the practice – those at Clemson should have looked at USC Sig Ep chapters experience that was highlight by the National Chapter on its website. http://www.sigep.org/blog/the-truth-about-pledging.html