High Point, NC -- The parents of a former High Point University student hired a private investigating firm to look into his death and are offering $10,000 for an explanation.
Robert Tipton, 22, died March 26, 2012 in High Point. Police told WFMY News 2 last year they received a call around 10:30 pm that night. The person who called 911 said a guest at the Crossing at Chester Ridge Apartment complex was unconscious and possibly not breathing.
He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
During the investigation, officers were told Tipton was spending the night at the apartment because he had been drinking and didn't want to drive back to campus.
"The cause of death listed in the medical examiner's report is oxymorphone poisoning, basically an overdose and that was consistent with everything that we had found in the investigation so there was no unanswered questions at that point about what was the cause of death," explained High Point Police Chief Marty Sumner. "There was no criminal matter so we closed the case."
The case was closed last June. Sumner says they conducted an extensive interview and had no reason to suspect foul play.
"A lot of times family members want to know why. And our investigation most often can tell you how but not always why. We don't really know what folks were thinking so we really stick to how this occurred and I think we have the answers to how," said Sumner.
The Tipton's hired Risk Management Associates, a private securities firm based out of Raleigh. The firm put an advertisement in the High Point Enterprise offering $10,000 to anyone who knows information about what happened to Robert.
At the time of Robert's death, he had cuts and bruises on his body. The ad calls them "consistent with an assault."
The medical examiner addressed the cuts in his autopsy and said they were superficial and did not contribute to his death.
"He had a car accident on the 17th, earlier, the week before, but the medical examiner's report clearly says although there was some bruising and contusions on the body, the medical examiners report says that those were superficial and in no way contributed to the death," explained Sumner.
Tipton was from Memphis, TN. He was a junior at High Point University and was a member of Delta Sigma Phi.
WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower reached out to the family but has not heard back from them yet.
Below is a copy of the ad:
On the evening of March 25, 2012, Robert left The Point at High Point University after having dinner with his pledge brothers from Delta Sigma Phi. Later that evening, he went to the off-campus apartment of a fraternity brother. Robert was found unresponsive the following morning and was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy determined that Robert had received numerous injuries consistent with an assault or accident in the hours prior to his death. These injuries could have contributed to Robert's death.
We need your help.
A reward of up to $10,000 is being offered
For credible and verifiable information
Leading to the persons responsible
For the injuries inflicted on Robert.
Please contact Risk Management Associates
At 919-792-1053 or send an email to email@example.com to provide confidential information.
High Point University released the following statement to News 2 Thursday afternoon:
The entire High Point University Family was and continues to be saddened by the death of Robert Tipton who died last March at an off-campus city apartment complex. Immediately following Robert's death, the university community celebrated Robert's life and mourned his death with a memorial service on campus and by taking many students and staff to Robert's funeral service in Memphis, TN. Robert's vibrant personality and spirit remain alive in the hearts and minds of HPU faculty, staff and students who knew him.
We understand that law enforcement officials and the medical examiner have conducted their investigation and that the matter has been closed.
We appreciate and sympathize with the Tipton Family's incredible sadness. Out of respect to them and to the university community, and because of student privacy, we have no additional comment at this time.
WFMY News 2