Choking Game Takes the Life of West Texas Girl

By Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

LUBBOCK - They're playing with life and death and many times don't even realize it; kids choking other kids, and sometimes themselves all for a high.

It's a loss that reminds us all that even though there usually are signs to look out for, they aren't always there.

Losing a child is the worst thing any parent could imagine.

And for Sharon Faber the only thing worse would be not sharing her daughter Aurianna Taylor's story and possibly saving another family from the same heart ache.

"For an 11 year old she was the most compassionate, loving, fun loving, mischievous (girl)," Sharon said. "She was a very special girl and she touched a lot of people's lives."

On top of that, Aurianna took care of her older sister who has special needs.

"Nicki's non-verbal and so Aurianna was like her voice," Sharon said. "She would help Nicki get dressed and do just normal everyday things. She would read to Nicki, they would sit for hours and watch movies pretty much, just helped her sister with anything that she needed."

Other's who knew the young girl agreed and there were many comments like this at her memorial.

"Aurianna actively put her own needs and desires on hold for the opportunity to help someone else," one mourner said.

"If everyone would give to others 25 percent of what Aurianna gave to her sister, mother and others," one of her uncles said. "The world, it would be a much better place."

Almost three years ago, the unthinkable happened and Sharon Faber lost her youngest daughter to the choking game.

"The day started out it was amazing," Sharon said. "Actually it was May 13, 2007, and it was Mother's Day."

The family was going to play tennis, but decided to take a nap first, but when Sharon woke up she couldn't find Aurianna.

"I went out into the garage and that's where I found my daughter, hanging in the garage," she said. "I don't remember, but it was a God thing that I was able to get her down. It was a God thing that I was able to do CPR, and when the paramedics got there she was breathing barely, she had a pulse barely."

"So, I was given a gift many parents aren't given," Sharon said. "I got the chance to hold my child alive one more time, but she didn't make it."

At first many thought it was a suicide, but Aurianna's youth pastor knew better and immediately mentioned the choking game.

After searching the family computer, Sharon knew her daughter didn't learn about the game online.

"I think it was from her friends at school," she said. "None of them have come out and said that, but when detectives went in and questioned students and teachers and such at the school they found out that the game was going on. And several of her friends finally did admit that they were playing."

In a lot of cases there are signs ­- bruising on the neck, blood shot eyes, random ropes, straps and belts lying around - Sharon says there were no warning signs.

Now she urges parents to talk to their kids before it's too late.

"We talked about the dangers of drugs; we talked about the dangers of alcohol well this goes right up there with these things," she said. "Would you rather have your child with you tomorrow or take the chance that they will play this game and lose."

She warns the game doesn't discriminate and pleads with anyone playing to seek help.

"If you're still playing, stop and save your own life," Sharon said. "It's as easy as you just stop doing it, and if you feel that you can't go to an adult that you trust. Go to somebody you trust and talk to them."

Kids between the ages of 9 and 16 are the most likely to experiment with this suffocating game.

While many know it solely as the choking game, it's also known by many other names including - funky chicken, space monkey and rocket ride to name a few.

To learn more about this deadly activity you can visit the News Links section of our Web site.