When Kristina Fields has a moment between taking care of her other four kids, she finds herself in her oldest son Luie’s bedroom.
“I left his bed the way he left it, that was the shirt he wore the night before. I come in here and I hug it and I smell his bathrobe,” Kristina said.
She knows Luie is never going to sleep in that bed, wear that shirt or be able to be hugged again.
It was Valentine’s Day when he left for Carson Middle School and never came back home.
“You don’t ever picture saying goodbye and I love you, have a good day to be the last 'goodbye, I love you, have a good day' that you’re going to say,” Kristina said.
Just after lunch on February 14th, Luie was found unresponsive in the boy’s bathroom.
“They they found him with his belt around his neck,” Kristina said. “They all think he killed himself so they all jump to the conclusion that he was bullied.”
Kristina said after the shock, there was guilt. But it didn’t add up. A video, shot the night before, shows Luie sitting at the dining room table. He was not supposed to move because he’s been grounded. But as soon as no one is looking, Luie begins goofing around with the on camera…and smiling.
“He wasn’t sad, he didn’t say anything, he was smiling when he was at the bus stop,” Kristina said.
It wasn’t until around a week after Luie’s death that Kristina was checking through the dozens of voice mails on her phone that she spotted one with her son’s name. It was from January 14th…exactly one month before his death.
“I see his name and I’m like, what? Because Luie never left me messages,” Kristina said.
It was an accident…a butt dial. Kristina remembered the phone call because she had called him right back.
“He had accidentally called me,” Kristina said.
The message is tough to understand, but you can hear panting at the beginning of the message. You hear Luie talking about a friend choking him again. Later you hear “pass out.”
Kristina believes her son and his friends were into playing the “choke out game.”
“I had never heard of that. Kids choke themselves for fun? That’s got to be the craziest thing I’ve ever heard,” Kristina said. “You just have to type it into YouTube and it shows you how to do it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the choking game is played by older children and teens to get a brief high. A study shows that boys are most at risk by playing the game. 87% of those who have died are boys. Most are between the ages of 11-16. Nearly all the children who have died from playing the game were alone.
“When kids start playing by themselves they use belts,” Kristina said.
She also says Luie had asked a friend to go to the bathroom with him.
“Why do you ask a friend to go with you? You don’t ask a friend to come help you kill yourself,” Kristina said.
Kristina has given her phone to investigators from Fort Carson so they can look into the possibility that Luie died from playing the choking game, not suicide.
“Nothing is comforting but it’s better to think to know that he died accidentally,” Kristina said.
She wants parents to learn about the choking game and to talk with their kids about it.
"It seems kind of silly, like ok, don't forget to look both ways before you cross the street, don't forget to put your seatbelt on and hey, by the way, don't play the choking game at school," Kristina said. "It's not a game. This could end your life. This could end your buddies life."