Leon Brown: Boy, 14, found dead by mom after trying same ‘blackout challenge’ that killed Archie Battersbee
Brown's mother issued a warning to fellow parents after her son's friend revealed he had wanted to replicate the choking game after seeing it on TikTok
CUMBERNAULD, SCOTLAND: The grieving mother of a teenager, who was found dead in his bedroom, said he was attempting the same dangerous viral Blackout Challenge as tragic Archie Battersbee. Leon Brown was only 14 years old when he was found unresponsive in his room Thursday, August 25, by his mother Lauryn Keating. The 30-year-old mom from Cumbernauld, Scotland, issued a warning to fellow parents after her son's friend revealed he had wanted to replicate the choking game after seeing it on the video-sharing app.
She claims Leon's friends were watching him attempt the challenge via Facetime when tragedy struck and the schoolboy lost his life. Lauryn told the Daily Record, "One of Leon's friends told me he had been doing the challenge on Facetime with them after seeing it on TikTok. My Leon thought he would be the one to try it first. Him and his friends probably thought it was a laugh and a joke. One of the kids who he was on Facetime with told me what he had done. She said they thought they would wake up. But Leon didn't come back around. It went horribly wrong." She then added, "I had heard of this challenge, because of what happened to Archie Battersbee. But you just don't expect your own child to do it. Please warn them, these online challenges aren't worth their lives. They aren't worth 'likes' or whatever they are doing it for."
Leon's friends and family gathered to release balloons in his memory last week and hope the youngster is given a standing ovation by Celtic fans at their next home game. The club's famous kit, signed by his friends, was left mounted on a railing at their local park following the schoolboy's death. Lauryn later said she was shocked when she searched TikTok and found a trove of videos promoting similar choking games. She said "I went on TikTok and wrote out words similar to blackout challenge. The amount of video results that came up on it is ridiculous."
Meanwhile, TikTok told the Daily Record it has put measures in place to prevent users from sharing videos on the trend and searching the term 'Blackout Challenge' which instead takes users to a safety center on the app. Users are also able to report any videos that contain graphic content. TikTok also deletes videos of the challenge from the platform.
The tragedy of Leon's death comes just weeks after Archie Battersbee died on August 6. Archie was also found unconscious by his mother Hollie Dance at his home in Essex in April this year. The young boy suffered a "catastrophic" brain injury and was placed on life support. He passed away after his family lost a long-running legal battle to continue the treatment that was keeping him alive.
His mother Hollie Dance has publicly spoken out about her belief that Archie had participated in the Blackout Challenge.