Family wants to bring awareness about deadly game

Family Brings Awareness for Deadly Game

A deadly game is back that may be popular with your child's group of friends. If you have not heard of it, it's not new.

The "choking game", also known as the "fainting game", is what took the life of an eleven-year-old Idaho Falls boy.

This past month has been very somber for the McAbee's.

"He was just a happy, happy child."

Curtis McAbee was an eleven-year-old boy who was full of life. His family said he was a dare-devil, like many other young boys and loved to have fun.

"He had a few quirks. His sense of fashion was his own. He was either riding his bike in his pajamas or he as in a costume of some sort, riding up and down the street. Very inquisitive. Kind of a dare devil," Curtis' grandmother Pat Jacobi said.

On the night of September 6th, 2016, his family said he took a dare too far.

Curtis was found in his room with a dog's choke chain around his neck. His body hung just a few inches from the ground.

"We don't think this was his first time trying the game. We think that he had been doing it for a while and had we known the signs, he might still be alive today," Jacobi said. 

Physical Warning Signs:

  • Any suspicious mark on the side of the neck, sometimes hidden by a turtleneck, scarf or permanently turned-up collar
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • A "thud" in the bedroom or against a wall-meaning, a fall in cases of solitary practice
  • Headaches (sometimes excruciatingly bad ones)

Jacobi recalled the day she received the early morning call from her hysterical daughter-in-law.  


"It took my breath away. I was so shocked. It's not something you can prepare for," Jacobi said.

She said she is working on getting the school district to help bring awareness to parents so that this does not happen to another child.

"I wanted the school to be involved, because, well at least the school district to be involved. I don't understand why they wouldn't want to at least put a note out to the parents," Jacobi said. "It's very imperative that the parents are aware of the fact that this game is being played."

GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for Curtis' head stone.

We reached out to the Idaho Falls School District 91, who gave us this statement:

"The safety and security of our students is always a priority in Idaho Falls School District 91, and our teachers, counselors, administrators and other staff strive to provide our students with a safe and nurturing environment.

Children today face any number of challenges, and Idaho Falls School District 91 will continue partnering with the Idaho Falls Police Department, other agencies and local organizations to address issues as they arise and to work together to try and make our community safer.

We encourage parents with specific concerns about a child to share those with school staff, their family doctor or a community health professional." 

We also reached out to the Bonneville Youth Development Council (BYDC) and they said an event is organized every month to inform parents about things like this.

Its next event is this Thursday, October 20.

"Connecting the Dots" is an hour and a half presentation. It starts at 7 p.m. at the Community Resource Center located at 883 Shoupe Ave.  

Another program like BYDC is D.A.R.E.

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