Updated: Police Say Zip-Line Accident Caused by Helmet Strap

Jackson Roos, 12, was found dead Wednesday after he accidentally hanged himself on a zip line outside his home.

Editor's note: For information on memorial services for Jackson Roos, click here and here.


OUTSIDE SEATTLE --Update, Sept. 28: The King County Sheriff's Office has released a statement regarding the cause of the Redmond zip lining accident that claimed the life of 12-year-old Jackson Roos on Wednesday.

The boy was killed when a safety line attached to the zip line cable became caught in a strap in the back of his helmet, Sgt. Cindi West said in the statement. The catch caused the helmet strap to tighten around Roos' neck and cut off his air supply. 

"Detectives said the incident was a tragic accident and could not have been predicted," West's statement concluded. "The case is considered closed."


Update, 8:30 p.m.: The local sheriff's office identified the 12-year-old boy who accidentally hanged himself in a zip line accident Wednesday as Jackson Roos.

Kathryn Reith of the Lake Washington School District confirmed the boy was a student at Evergreen Middle School. Grief counselors will be available to students on Thursday, she said.


Original story, Sept. 26: A Redmond family is in mourning after a 12-year-old boy accidentally hanged himself on a zip line outside his home in unincorporated Redmond.

Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office said the boy's mother believed he was riding his bike and went to go find him when she needed to leave the home. She found her son caught by some sort of strap in the zip line and unresponsive, West said.

The Redmond Fire Department was the first to arrive on the scene in the 8800 block of 255th Ave. NE at around 2:30 p.m. The first responders cut the boy, whose name has not been released, from the zip line.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

West said the zip line was commercially manufactured and was being used for its intended purpose. It ran about 100 feet across the family's large yard, she said.

The incident is being investigated as an accident, West said.

The boy was found a few feet from the starting platform, which sits about 20 feet above the ground, West said, adding that it appears as though either a helmet strap or some sort of harness strap he was wearing became caught in the zip line.

The sheriff's major crimes unit will investigate the death, which is common for accidental children's deaths, West said.

This is the second incident in recent weeks in which a child has accidentally been killed while using a piece of play equipment. Last month, a 4-year-old girl accidentally strangled herself on a Sammamish playground.

West said it's important for parents to keep their children in close supervision, but there is only so much that can be done to prevent random accidents.

"There's potential to be injured no matter what you do," she said. "Bad things can happen with simple things."

Artemis Geano September 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I knew jackson... It wasn't his time to die.
Caitlin Moran September 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Seriously, Amy F.? Constant supervision for a 12-year-old? I was left home alone to care for my two younger siblings at around that age. In any case, let's please respect the grief of the parents and refrain from passing judgement.
Carolyn Hart Gutierrez September 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I agree with Caitlin. Any attempt at placing blame is highly inappropriate.
Huss September 27, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I am so disappointed to read a comment like this. Shame on you.
Jennifer September 28, 2012 at 12:45 AM
How awful. Rest in peace young man and prayers for the family.
Rachel September 28, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Rachel This is a time where we all look at the person next to us and say we love them! This is a shame and true loss! We are talking about a Child here who lost his life in just a day a moment! There is no fault, at this time nor should we sit back and hear people state things are are untrue AMY F?? Really ? You have no clue what this poor family has to deal with at this time> Have some respect for this family! I didnt not known Jackson but I do no his father he is caring man and loved his family a lot! Rest in peace Dear Jackson! our prays are with your family to help them thourgh this such awful time. WE LOVE YOU!!
Mark Anderson September 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM
To me, the tragedy of this story is that this poor boy was in the bloom of life, gloriously doing what 12 year old boys do.
Caroline Peters September 28, 2012 at 03:15 PM
this comment made me sick. his parents were CONSTANTLY around. they thought he was over at my brothers house, a terrible thing happened and they do NOT need a stranger adding to the guilt. Have respect.
Caroline Peters September 28, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Dear Jackson, Me and my brother loved you so much. My favorite memory of you was when we went to the Warren Miller film and you were so excited. You and Max were running around like maniacs. You were the kindest and sweetest boy, when I heard the police coming down to your house I thought nothing of it. I feel horrible that I was sitting in my house 100 yards away while you met your end. Sleep well Jackson. We love you<3
jan holmes September 29, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Are you for real? I do not see you even apologizing to the heartfelt comments here. This is a time for love, respect, a shoulder to lean on cry on, and some stupid person like you makes a comment like that? I know alot of Amy's thank god I don't know you, you twit!
Russ September 29, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Come on Amy. This was a terrible accident. This is no fault of the parents. He was 12 and was allowed to do what his parents thought were safe. Show some sympathy - don't play the blame game!
K.M. May September 29, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Actually, 'Amy F.', you are wrong. At 12 years of age a person is legally considered to be "old enough" to not be required to be under constant adult supervision. For example, when a "latch-key" kid comes home after school and waits alone for the parents to return, the law generally considers it to be "OK" (not negligent on the part of parents) if the child is 12 years of age or older. If parents were allowing their 10 year old to be alone under these (or other) circumstances, and something 'bad' happened, then the parents would possibly be looked at for being negligent, but not at 12 years old. If a babysitter was age 12, it is generally considered to be lawful, but if the babysitter was younger, then not so much (especially if something 'bad' were to happen). Granted, 12 years old may not be the best age to be left alone, DEPENDING ON THE CHILD, but in this instance it was clearly stated that the parent believed the child to be engaged in neighborhood bike riding or visiting of friends, NOT using the backyard apparatus. I believe that the parents were acting in a responsible and 'reasonable' manner and that due to this fact as well as the age of the victim (older than 12), there is nothing that rises to the level of negligence on the part of the parent(s) or anyone. I hope that the parents clearly understand this and learn to accept this truth. Accidents happen. Not every tragedy can be prevented. Although different children and different circumstances will
Catherine Wittel September 30, 2012 at 06:42 PM
So tragic. Sincere condolences to the family and friends of this boy.
Brian S October 01, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Did no one else notice that one of the photos still shows him hanging there?
Caitlin Moran October 01, 2012 at 06:35 AM
That is not accurate, Brian. There is a photo of an investigator on a ladder, as described in the photo caption.
Bob McCoy October 01, 2012 at 07:23 AM
I know this family is in pain, though I don't know them. I hope they have family and friends to help them in their grief. I cannot imagine the depth of pain this must cause.
Kirkland Tony October 01, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Not to be macabre, but for whom do you consider it IS time?
joe k October 01, 2012 at 04:32 PM
12 yrs and 20 feet in the air. That's the concern any parent should have. Common sense beat rules and helmets any time. I feel very very sorry for the family. Hope others will enjoy ziplines in safe conditions.
joe k October 01, 2012 at 04:50 PM
And before anybody jumps on me for being disrespectful, I am not. I am very sorry to read this and believe we need to be honest to protect the kids. Would you leave 12 yr old alone with swimming pool? The 20 feet required the harness, which caused the problem. If a kid falls of a zip line you want them to fall free and end with a scratch or broken limp at very worst. 20 feet in air will break his neck. It was a liability all along just like a swimming pool. IMHO.
Caitlin Moran October 01, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Hi Tony, let's please be sensitive to those who are grieving. The comment above could be from a young friend, and this isn't a great time to be critical of people's phrasing.
Caitlin Moran October 01, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Hi Joe, I don't necessarily agree that you're not being disrespectful, but, that aside, one thing both you and Amy F. above both seem to not take into consideration is the fact that the boy's mother thought he was riding his bike at the time of the accident. She did not "leave him alone" with the zipline, as you seem to imply with your swimming pool comparison. There are many things we do not know about the situation—were the kids told not to use the zipline alone? Was there a reason it was that high off the ground? Those of us who don't know the family can only speculate about these answers. This, in my mind, makes it highly inappropriate for us to make any sort of commentary about whether the tragedy could have been prevented.
K.M. May October 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Also "Joe K" ~ If you would have taken a few moments to thoughtfully compose your written expression, it could have come across as a sympathetic AND educational message that would have been well received. ~ Instead you sound like an emotionless jerk with terrible timing. Your message was good but your delivery poor. ~ And Caitlin is correct. It was clearly noted that the parent believed the young man was participating in a safe activity, not "alone near a pool" nor using the zip-line.
joe k October 01, 2012 at 07:44 PM
OK. Before u put me in a box with Amy, allow me to clarify, 1) this is a public forum and nobody should be singled out for speaking freely. 2) the obvious anguished the family is going through and the emotional dealings are not well served here but rather in a personal private venue. Amy nor I choose to make this a public forum topic. 3) if just one kid in the future is spared because I had the guts to point out the obvious issue here, I sleep better at night. I feel for the parents, however lots of accidents happens because "we" - the parents didn't know better. We are called to protect kids, including learning how. Give it some thought.
Caitlin Moran October 01, 2012 at 07:58 PM
You're entitled to your opinion, Joe. But please be aware that the public forum thing goes both ways—other commenters are allowed to say they disagree with the message you're choosing to offer, or the way in which you're expressing it. I (mostly) agree with your argument that the Roos family is probably not turning to Patch as they grieve, but this child obviously touched the lives of many in the community beyond just his family members. I think it's worthwhile to also consider Jackson's neighbors, friends, teachers and other acquaintances (a couple of whom are also on this thread) as we think about what comments to offer on his death. If you have any questions about Patch's policies on commenting, feel free to send me an email at Caitlin.Moran@patch.com.
Carolyn Hart Gutierrez October 01, 2012 at 08:51 PM
How old are your children, Joe? Amy? Do you hover over them every minute of the day? And, have you ever climbed a tree? Rode a bike without a helmet, drank from a garden hose, or petted a strange dog? Terrible, awful accidents happen to smart, strong, active, capable and well cared for children who have kind, loving, attentive and responsible parents. That is a sad fact of our fragile morality. Venomous accusations are nothing but a display of a lack of compassion. I sincerely hope that the people who are so quick to judge others are never in the same situation as Jackson's mourning family and friends.
Christy October 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Very tragic. I feel so terrible for this family.
Christy P. M October 01, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Very tragic. I feel so terrible for this family.
joe k October 02, 2012 at 12:14 AM
My message is only good. I love and care for children. I am not gonna respond to name calling.
don h October 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM
do kids do things that are unsafe? yes. i lost a dear sister years ago. we try to teach safety, hope they listen and then get on with life. my heart and prayers go the family and friends. we need to help each other get through this time of sadness.....don h.
Tony Titus October 03, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I have a 12 year old boy, and can only imagine the sorrow. God bless and keep you in this time of pain. It wasn't your fault - in the pursuit of allowing boys to grow up active, independent, playful, curious, and confident, they want to do adventurous things - you sound like wonderful parents and I'm sure Jackson was a wonderful boy. Carolyn, your words are wise, and you are clearly a parent.


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