Choking game death offers awareness

WAKE COUNTY Kris Marceno died after playing a game where teens intentionally choke themselves or others to get an artificial high.

Sunday, students gathered to remember their friend and to prevent others from facing the same fate.

Since 1995, the CDC reports 82 people have died from playing the choking game.

Parents think the numbers are underreported since many deaths, which could be a result of the game, are ruled suicides.

Also they say since Marceno's death it's frightened them to hear their children step up saying they know or have known others to participate in this game.

"It doesn't matter what your kid is or who they are it can happen to anybody," Julie Terazest said.

Marceno's closest friends grabbed popcorn and their PJ's and packed inside a Cary production studio to celebrate his life –one they say he wasn't done living.

"He was one of those people who would have had the list of a 100 things you do before you die and we would have completed them all," Mary Simmons said. "I don't think this was ever intentional. He just had so much more living to do."

Kris' family and friends are selling tee shirts and pajama bottoms to raise money and awareness.

"I think the family, if they can do nothing other than save one child from having this happen to this to their family then they'll be successful," Pam Huck said. "That's all they've been about since this nightmare started was to not let it happen again."

And parents want other parents to talk to their kids. Huck says she is upset Wake County public schools aren't doing more.

"I was completely dumbfounded at Wake County's director of counseling response that it's' not a problem," Huck said. "Is one child's life not one child to many? How is this different then drugs … Wake County seems to care more about a child who has lice than they care about this."

Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.