Local News

Cary teen died playing 'choking game'

Posted November 19, 2008 5:57 p.m. EST
Updated November 19, 2008 10:43 p.m. EST

— 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.