The Paw Print
Yolanda Cash encountered a parents worst nightmare when she came home and discovered her 10-year-old son Thailan Curtis slumped over unconscious and bleeding from his mouth with a curtain around his neck.
It had been Thailan’s older brother who first discovered the scene, and the brother rushed and told his mom, who had just returned from the store.
“He said, ‘There’s something around his neck and there’s blood.’ I said, ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘There’s blood,’” she says. Whens his brother found Thailan, he was still alive.
“I tried pulling it from around his neck. But, it was just, I couldn’t pull it. I had to shake the whole curtain down,” she says. “Blood coming from his mouth and he was foaming, vomiting, but he never came to,” Cash says while crying. She immediately called emergency services, but the boy died just moments later.
Though the police publicly declared that Thailan had committed suicide, his parents are not buying it. They say that is not the kind of person he was.
“It wasn’t a suicide because he was just too happy and he had no reason to kill himself,” says Enzy Curtis, Thailan’s father. “I think it was just a game he was playing by himself, and it got out of hand.”
The game Curtis is referring to is one called the “choking game” or “fainting game,” which involves cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain in order to induce a high. It is very dangerous, and if that is the cause of death, Thailan is not the only child to have died from playing it.
“We get several calls from elementary schools, and sometimes middle schools,” says firefighter Jeff Brigham. “These kids thinks it’s only fun and games, but it can be deadly.”
Cash says that she had caught Thailan playing the choking game before.
“I told him, ‘Honey, that’s dangerous. You shouldn’t do that,’” she recalls.
His older brother, whose name was not released, also stated that he had played the game as well, but never to that extent.
“We always just used our hands,” he told reporters. “I don’t know why he [Thailan] would use the curtain. That’s why we used our hands, only our hands.”
Thailan’s brother has made it clear to his family and authorities that he will no longer play the game, and he will discourage other kids at school from playing as well.
Though Cash is adamant that her son did not kill himself, police are holding tight to the theory of suicide. But Cash says that her son would never have dreamed of something like that.
His parents have said that he always lived in the moment, and that he had a great outlook on life. He was beginning to take interest in church, and had close friends at school. Cash never heard of her son being bullied, and his friends said that he was never a target.
“I still want to know why,” Cash said. “I want to know why God took him. Why did he take my baby? He was only ten. He shouldn’t have died.”
Police and detectives are still looking into the case, and have claimed the case will be labeled as suicide until further notice.