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  Youth Hangs Self at Halloween Party

The Associated Press
Monday, Oct. 22, 2001; 12:50 p.m. EDT

SPARTA, Mich. –– A 14-year-old boy trying to make his role in a haunted hayride scarier accidentally hanged himself in front of a group of people who thought he was acting.

Caleb Rebh's post at the ride at Alpine Ridge Farms included a skeleton hanging by a noose in a nearby tree. His mother, Kathy Rebh, said he telephoned her Saturday night to say he felt awkward simply jumping out of the woods to scare passers-by.

He apparently spoke with other teens working at the event about replacing the skeleton with himself, his mother said.

Caleb put the noose around his neck but when he let go of the rope, he apparently was not heavy enough to prevent the branch from whipping back up and choking him, his mother said.

When he started scrambling to get the double-knotted rope off his neck, fellow workers seemed to think he was acting, she said.

"I think he thought he was safe because his feet were touching the ground," Kathy Rebh said.

Hayride employees and participants tried to resuscitate Caleb, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

"To have ... people right there watching him die, choking to death and not do anything – I don't know if I can ever get over that," said Bryan Rebh, the teen's father. "They just thought he was doing his scene. But he wasn't doing his scene – he was dying."

The Kent County Sheriff's Department said the death was considered an accident.

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press

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