KIRKSVILLE, Mo. -- A new wrongful death lawsuit claims a student at Truman State University was connected to five suicides and that the university and a fraternity acted negligently in failing to protect the students.
Family members of Alexander Mullins and Joshua Thomas claim that former student Brandon Grossheim had close ties to all five suicide victims and was involved in all of their deaths.
Mullins, Thomas and another student were all members of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity with Grossheim. The other two were residents of Kirksville.
The lawsuit alleges that the four male students all took their own lives in a similar manner and that Grossheim had access to the locations where they died.
Grossheim allegedly found three of the bodies and handled two of them before police arrived to investigate. He had a known fascination with death and had asked police to see one of the bodies, according to the suit.
Grossheim reportedly told all his friends that he was "there for them" and gave them advice and "step by step" directions on how to deal with depression. The advice allegedly included advice on how to take your own life.
According to court documents, Grossheim called himself the "peacemaker" and saw himself as a "superhero" and gravitated toward "these [depressed] people."
The lawsuit alleges that neither Truman State University nor AKL took action to intervene or notify his parents after Thomas made a suicide attempt.
Grossheim has not been criminally charged in any of the deaths.
The attorney representing the families said in a statement:
"This situation had been swept under the rug. The University held a short symposium on suicide and the fraternity seemingly shrugged their shoulders and everyone went away quietly. But, no one told the public, parents or students on campus about the psychological manipulation that had been involved...that a fellow student and fraternity brother was a danger.”
In a statement, Truman State University said:
"We are aware that an attorney has announced the filing of litigation against the University pertaining to the deaths of two of our students. We strongly disagree with the allegations as stated in the lawsuit and will defend the suit vigorously. As the litigation proceeds, it will become clear that the University is not responsible for the deaths of these students. We will not comment further on this pending litigation."