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Student's Death in Fraternity Boxing Match Ruled Homicide — But No Charges Will Be Filed

·4-min read
Nathan Valencia
Nathan Valencia

GoFundMe

College student Nathan Valencia's death has been ruled a homicide, but police say no criminal charges will be filed.

Nathan, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), died after participating in a fraternity boxing match to raise money for Center Ring Boxing, a youth boxing club.

The Valencia family previously told KLAS 8 News Now that Nathan sustained fatal brain injuries and collapsed following the fight on Nov. 19 — and died on Nov. 23, four days before his 21st birthday.

The Clark County Coroner's Office has classified Nathan's death as a homicide and confirmed that his cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, PEOPLE can confirm.

A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department tells PEOPLE in a statement that the term homicide refers to the "act of a human killing another person." In each specific case, detectives examine the facts to determine if a criminal act occurred.

"Although Mr. Valencia's death is tragic, the circumstances surrounding his death are not criminal and no charges will be filed," a Las Vegas Police Department spokesperson tells PEOPLE in a statement.

RELATED: 20-Year-Old College Student Dies Following Fraternity Boxing Match Described as 'Underground Fight Club'

In a previous statement obtained by PEOPLE, police said they had "investigated the licensing of the boxing charity event" and found "no information that there is any criminality on the part of the venue."

Police also said that "any enforcement action for the promoter or participants" in the event should come from the Nevada Athletic Commission, the governing body in the state for all unarmed combat events.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has launched an investigation into the boxing event.

"The NSAC takes this tragedy seriously, and our hearts go out to Mr. Valencia's family and loved ones," ​​Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said in a statement. "We will share further details on the investigation as they become available."

In a livestream held to address the student's death, Cloobeck said the NASC did not sanction nor have jurisdiction over the event, according to KTNV.

"This is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to the Valencia family. This is unnecessary. It shouldn't have happened," Cloobeck said during the livestream, noting that their investigation will look into whether the referee was licensed, if participants were under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if there were "proper paramedics and medical personnel at the event."

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In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, lawyers for the Valencia family from the Richard Harris Law Firm said the family will "fully cooperate" with the NASC's investigation.

In their statement, the family claimed to have "confirmed from multiple sources that there were no paramedics or medical personnel of any kind at this event."

Additionally, the family claimed that the referee present for the event appeared "to have had no professional training, no license as required by the Nevada Athletic Commission, and was recorded on video drinking before the fights."

The family went on to allege that UNLV, Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Sahara Event Center, where the event was held, "all looked the other way and failed to ensure proper safety precautions were in place."

"We will hold those responsible for Nathan's death accountable and ensure that this never happens to another son, daughter, or member of this community," the family added.

UNLV, Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Sahara Event Center did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment about the family's statement.

RELATED: Virginia Commonwealth University Student, 19, Is Found Dead and Fraternity Is Suspended

UNLV President Richard Whitfield previously issued a university-wide email acknowledging the "tragic incident" on Friday.

"UNLV is committing all available resources to review the incident and determine how off-campus events like these can be as safe as possible," Whitfield wrote at the time.

The school subsequently announced on Wednesday that it had placed the local chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity on immediate interim suspension amid their ongoing internal review.

"Our hearts ache for Mr. Valencia's family, friends, and loved ones," Whitfield wrote in a press release. "We take our responsibility to review this tragic incident and the events leading up to it very seriously, and we are doing so both thoroughly and fairly to ensure something like this never happens again."

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, which Nathan was a member of, also released a statement following his death.

"Our hearts are heavy as Heaven gained an angel," they wrote. "His strength and kindness never went unseen, and we were so thankful to have him as a brother. Please pray for his family and be thankful for the ones around you. May his soul rest easy."

A GoFundMe set up to help the Valencia family with medical and funeral expenses has raised over $58,000 as of Wednesday. Those interested in donating can do so here.

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