Girl Dies After Her Heart Stops in Haunted House

Christian Faith BengeA 16-year-old girl in Ohio has tragically died after her heart stopped while she was going through a haunted house with her friends and family. Christian Faith Benge had a pre-existing heart condition, but I doubt anyone thought the Halloween attractions at Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park in Madison Township would cause it to stop beating.


"She got halfway through and just collapsed," Betty Benge, the teen's grandmother, lamented. "She was almost through it."

The teen was pronounced dead after being taken to a local hospital.

According to her family, Christian had a heart defect that stemmed from the congenital diaphragmatic hernia she was born with. Essentially, the condition prevents the lungs from developing normally. She only had one functioning lung, which put additional strain on her heart. Her doctors said that part of her heart was four times its normal size.

"They said she was like a time bomb," Betty Benge said.

An autopsy will reveal more about exactly what happened to cause a 16-year-old, even one with a heart condition, to basically fall down dead, but one coroner is already wondering if she was literally scared to death.

Warren County Coroner Russell Uptegrove wondered, "We may never know for sure, but because her death involved heart problems, the fear in places like that could have pushed her over the edge, so to speak."

Chief investigator Doyle Burke also wondered about the circumstances. "Is this something that occurred because she had a heightened sense of fear? Or is this something that she could have been walking down the street and this occurred? We may never know that, but there's really no way to medically pinpoint that," he said.

Brett Oakley, who owns the seasonal park, confirmed that Christian hadn't suffered an accident or injury at the haunted house. "It was a very unfortunate situation," he said.

Is it possible she was scared to death? Maybe ... but it probably had more to do with having an elevated heart rate. She may have suffered the same fate walking down the street on a hot day. It's unlikely that her family thought anything of allowing her to participate with the festivities and wanted her to experience life to the fullest.

Christian's mom, Jean Benge, who was with her at the park, said, "I did CPR until the paramedics arrived, and then I just trusted God. He has an ultimate plan. It was just time ... because of her faith in Christ, I know she's home."

Her whole family said she will be remembered as a "young woman with strong faith," even if a heart defect ended her life far too soon.

Do you think the haunted house could have contributed to Christian's young death?


Image via Christian Benge/Facebook

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