Local News

Cary teen died playing 'choking game'

Posted November 19, 2008

— Joe and Bobbi Jo Marceno said other parents need to be aware of the "game" that killed their 15-year-old son two weeks ago.

Kris Marceno, a sophomore at Enloe High School, died Nov. 2 playing the "choking game" in which someone asphyxiates himself or herself or chokes a friend to the point of passing out. The oxygen-deprivation is believed to produce a euphoric high.

"I'm just speechless. I don't know how to say it, (but) it's hard to believe," Joe Marceno said, still in shock over his son's death.

"His sister found him and thought he was playing," Bobbi Jo Marceno said. "(She) said, 'He's not moving. He's not talking.' So then, I ran upstairs, and he wasn't playing."

Kris Marceno had tied an electrical cord around his neck, with the other end tied to a bunk bed, his mother said.

The Marcenos said they never suspected their son of trying to play such a dangerous game, but they said his friends have since told them they even try to choke each other at school.

"I think I heard about [the choking game] somewhere down the line, but I never really paid attention to it. I mean, we were looking for the other things – the drinking, the drugs and that kind of stuff," Joe Marceno said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 youths nationwide have died since 1995 while playing the choking game. Most of the victims were teenage boys.

Bobbi Jo Marceno remembers how her son filled the family's home with his love for music, and she said she doesn't want other parents to be left only with memories of their children.

"I wouldn't want anybody to find their child like I did," she said.

Parents need to watch for the signs that someone has been playing the choking game and convince them to stop, and teens should report the activity to a parent or a teacher, she said. The signs include bloodshot eyes, marks on the neck, severe headaches or disorientation after spending time alone.

"I'm sure [other parents are] thinking, 'My kid wouldn't do that.' Well, I'm a mom of four, and my kid shouldn't have done it, and I shouldn't be sitting here right now, but I am," she said.


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  • san4short Nov 20, 2008

    "Prayers for the parents and the childs soul." Save your time. The Parents are already handling this as best they can and the poor kid is Dead and gone forever (which is why we value being alive). Souls were a Greek invention to describe the "self awareness" we have, Christianity twisted it into something that can "last forever". Wishful thinking thats all."

    Wow, what can I say but what a cold and sad comment to make, to have no faith in the possibility that there is more to come after this life that we lead. Seems to me that you believe when we die that's it, finished, that's all she wrote. I hope that's not true. I'm not overly religious or anything and don't want to get into any debates, but I would like to think positive and hope that when we die, we will be going to better place and hopefully we will reunite with our loved ones. I'm sure this family is "handling this as best as they can" with similar hopes.

  • san4short Nov 20, 2008

    Justin, I disagree..I monitor my kids as best as I can to keep them as safe as I possibly can. I'm not saying things can't/won't happen, even on my watch, but I like to think that I'm doing all I can do as a mother to protect them as best as I can. I was their age once and I point blank tell them some of the stupid things I got away with and how fortunate that I was that I didn't hurt myself (I'm talking about something minor like drinking under age, not drugs or choking games). As a parent, you should go nuts trying to make sure your kids are as safe as they possibly can. I don't want to have any regrets if god forbid something did happen to either one of my kids. Also, it's good to bring a story like this out in the open because I certainly never heard about it ever. When I was growing up I never heard of teens having sex and kids killing their parents either...times have obviously changed and we need to stay on top of what's happening or that could be our child!

  • haggis basher Nov 20, 2008

    "It used to be called Dungeons & Dragons"
    Thats a board and dice based role playing game! You might get figuratively slain by an Elf but thats about it......

  • SouthernLady05 Nov 20, 2008

    Years ago I knew someone this happened to. It used to be called Dungeons & Dragons or something like that.

    I know your supposed to have a spotter beside you to loosen up the thing around your neck right before you pass out. Stupid game really... been around for a while.

    Prayers for the parents and the childs soul.

  • merrywidow Nov 20, 2008

    Exactly my point, robertl30. Laws concerning criminal activities, property rights and governing a community/society occur all around the world and have NOTHING to do with christianity!

  • Robert Larson Nov 20, 2008

    Most of the founding fathers were actually Deists, not Christians. God is mentioned in the founding documents. And our legal system does have many "Christian" principles built in. But those principles could also be described as Islamic, Buddist, Hindu, Judaic... etc. Remember, one man's religion is another man's belly laugh.

  • merrywidow Nov 20, 2008

    aintbackingdwn, you deliberately ignored the final part of my statement, didnt ya?

    So YOU tell me, exactly upon which christian principles was this country founded?

  • Reader Nov 20, 2008

    This is not some new game - we did it during middle school gym class in the early '70's. (The tumbling mats softened the fall of the person who blacked out after being squeezed in a bear hug by a classmate.) The danger increases enormously when tried alone. Teach your kids there is safety in numbers, in many situations. Walking at night, swimming anytime, hiking the backwoods - many dangers are lessened with the "buddy system".

  • sunneyone Nov 20, 2008

    Justin, I disagree, I think bringing it to light will help people educate themselves about it. And it might save another child's life.

  • aintbackingdwn Nov 20, 2008

    merrywidow - that's the dummest comment I've read yet - how can you read the constitution and bill or rights and not seen "God" and Christian principles written all over the founding of this county?