Orange County, Florida, authorities say they have finished the investigation into the suspected hazing-related death of Robert Champion, the 26-year-old Florida A&M University student and drum major who died in November.
The case has now been handed over to prosecutors who will make a decision on possible charges.
“During the course of this investigation, Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigators have worked over 1000 man hours and over 40 individuals have been interviewed,” Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Monday. “We have worked closely with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and on numerous occasions investigators have traveled to and from Tallahassee to meet with witnesses and gather statements.”
The Florida State Attorney’s Office said it has received the investigation but could not give a timeline of when a decision will be made in the case that has FAMU and other universities contemplating how to end violent hazing rituals
Some FAMU band members have said Champion died last November after taking part in an annual rite of passage called “Crossing Bus C.”
The crossing the bus ritual is an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members, band members have said.
Champion collapsed in Orlando on the bus, which was carrying members of FAMU’s Marching 100 after a November football game that included a halftime performance by the group.
The medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide and said Champion “collapsed and died within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body.”
An autopsy found “extensive contusions of his chest, arms, shoulder and back,” as well as “evidence of crushing of areas of subcutaneous fat,” which is the fatty tissue directly under the skin.
The death prompted the FAMU board of trustees to approve a new three-part anti-hazing plan, which includes an independent panel of experts to investigate.