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Milwaukee Police believe suicide is what caused the death of a 10-year-old boy who was found slumped over in an upstairs living room with a curtain around his neck in his home Saturday. But the parents of Thalian Cash say his death was accidental—-caused by a ‘choking game’ he liked to play.

Thailan’s older brother found him Saturday night and told his mother there was something around the boy’s neck and he was bleeding. Yolanda Cash told WTMJ she tried to remove the curtain from the boy’s neck but she couldn’t. “I had to shake the whole curtain down,” she said.

Both parents say they warned Thailan about playing the game before. “I told him ‘honey that’s dangerous. You shouldn’t do that,” Cash said.

Neither Cash nor Thalian’s father, Enzy Curtis, believe the police’s suicide ruling. “I think it was just a game he was playing and it got out of hand of just him by himself. It wasn’t a suicide, cuz he was just too happy and he had no reason to commit suicide.”

Although it sounds odd, the ‘choking game’ has actually been around for decades, according to Marriage and family therapist Colleen Perry. She told The Huffington Post last year that the ‘game’ gives good kids a chance to get “high” without getting involved with more obvious dangers like drugs and alcohol. Still, 10 seems like an awfully young age to begin experimenting with the idea of getting high. This is a really sad incident.

Had you heard of the ‘choking game’ before? Have you or anyone you know ever played it as a child?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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