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Zachary Hughes ~~ 12/17/91 - 08/05/07 ~~ Victim of The Choking Game

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posted by Chris Minor, Quad Cities News Channel 8, WQAD, 9/5/07:

MOLINE, Illinois -- The death of a 15 year old found in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve has been ruled an accident, and may be linked to the ''choking game''.

Zachary Hughes was a model kid, and had everything going for him. He was a Boy Scout working toward being an Eagle Scout.

The Davenport North student was found earlier this summer with a noose around his neck at the Boy Scout camp in Andalusia, where he was working as a staff member.

Initially believed to be suicide, at a coroner's inquest today, investigators said they think his death was accidental, that he may have been playing a ''choking game''.

Investigators said the practice has been linked to hundreds of deaths each year, when teenagers cut off their oxygen supply to thier brain, to achieve a rush, or short-time high.

According to Wikipedia, ''250 to 1,000 young people die in the United States each year playing some variant of the choking game. Tracking the exact number is difficult because many of the cases are reported as suicides''.

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posted by Chris Minor, Quad Cities News Channel 8, WQAD, 11/15/07:

ANDALUSIA, Illinois -- It's a thrill, a rush, a high, and it can kill your kids.

Now a Quad City father is trying to warn parents about the dangers of the Choking Game, a game he says that took his son's life on a sunny August morning this year.

''If there's something out there that we know can kill our kids, why aren't we talking about it? Why aren't we educating them? Why isn't this talked about in health class, why isn't it part of the Dare program?""

15 year old Zach Hughes was headed into his sophomore year at Davenport North. A good student, a member of the school band, both he and his dad were nature lovers. He was spending the weekend with his father and step-mother in Andalusia. Zach was a devoted Boy Scout, his dad is the camp ranger at Loud Thunder Boy Scout camp, and lives on the property.

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by Ann McGlynn, Quad-City Times, 12/15/07

On that Sunday morning, Zach Hughes’ alarm went off at 8 a.m.

But 15-year-old Zach wasn’t in his bed.

His dad, Steve Hughes, and his stepmom, Lori Hughes, figured that the outdoorsy, outgoing kid decided to take a hike. His internal clock, after all, was all screwed up from a recent trip to Europe. Lori went to meet their son, Blake, at church. Steve stayed behind to wait for Zach.

But the early morning of Aug. 5 became late morning, and Zach still hadn’t returned to the house.

Maybe he had gotten hurt. Maybe he twisted his ankle or broke his leg.

Steve and Lori searched the 265-acre Boy Scout camp at Loud Thunder where Steve is the ranger.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Steve saw his son.

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