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Teen's Death Ruled Accident, Possibly Choking Game

The death of a local teenager has been ruled an accident. His mother believes he was playing the choking game and went too far.

Racine teenager and Horlick High School student R.J. Monroe's death has been officially ruled an accident by the Racine County Medical Examiner.

Tom Terry told Patch Wednesday that the 15-year-old suffocated after he was strangled by a belt that secured him by the neck to his bed post.

"Based on evidence the (Racine) Police Department recovered from the boy's computer and statements that indicate this may have happened before, we are ruling this death an accident," he said.

It is believed the boy died as a result of playing a choking game, which is a way to experience a kind of high by depriving the body of oxygen to the point of fainting. While the game is certainly dangerous even with others to act as a safeguard, for Monroe, the game turned deadly.

Sgt. Martin Pavalonis from the Racine Police Department confirmed officers conducted an investigation and met with the medical examiner. Beyond that, he said he didn't want to comment further on the case.

Terry confirmed that authorities did not find a suicide note at the scene.

Monroe's mother, Jeana Monroe, wants other parents to be aware of the potentially deadly consequences. She told Patch that her son wasn't troubled but instead was a solid student at Horlick High School who hung out with his family a lot.

"We are very family oriented, and I was very careful about him not being on Facebook, about where he could hang out with his friends," she said.

Jeana said she has spoken with some of R.J.'s friends over the last week, learning that they all know about the choking game and they're talking about it at school.

"It's so scary," she added. "I worry that kids might be doing this at school in the bathrooms because that's how it starts, they do it with each other. I worry about how many other kids have died from strangulation when it's really this game."

Jeana also spoke with reporters at WISN News about her son and the way he died.

"If you're alone, and you're trying it, and you pass out before you can get that belt off of your neck, which is what happened to him, there's no one there to save you. And you just die," she told the station. "We can't get him back, but we can help somebody else to learn about it, like to watch out for it and let the kids know this is real and this is not something they should be playing with."

According to a poll last spring from ABC News, around 6 percent of tweens and/or teens have "played" the choking game at least once.

Laurie P December 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Thoughts and prayers going to the Monroe family....such a tragedy any time of the year but especially during the holidays. My son is a student at Horlick....and way too many of the Horlick students/families have suffered such losses this year :(
Karen Itzenhuiser December 14, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Such a tragedy! A friend of ours recently lost his son to this dangerous game. A happy, loving life kind of kid, an "A" student. The kids use this as a form of getting high without drugs. It's actually been going on for years but seems to be very popular at this time. Parents need to be informed and talk to their kids about this. Never think "Not my kid" because you'll be wrong. Your kids aren't any different than these two boys. They're kids and they do alot of things you don't know about. They need to be educated.
Jeana December 14, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Karen: This is Jeana RJ's mother! Please contact me asap at store@racineriverside.com I would like to speak with your friend who lost their child.
Jeana December 14, 2012 at 07:01 PM
please contact me- Jeana
Kyle zebroski December 15, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Hi jeana its kyle from the funeral just wanted u to no im lookin up on stuff in school for u ill tell scott once i find somethin

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