St. Louis Haunted House Visit Leads to Death for Young Teen

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Parents of Belleville girl file a wrongful death suit against haunted house after their daughter died of complications due to an asthma attack suffered while in the house.

Britteny Holmes, 15, visited The Darkness, a haunted house in Soulard, on Halloween 2009. Brittney died on November 12, 2010 after spending a year in a vegetative state. Artificial fog and sickley scents pumped into the haunted house lead to the death of the asthmatic teenager according to claims in a wrongful death suit filed last week. Britteny had suffered from asthma since age 4 and was allergic to tree nuts, grass, dust, mildew and peanuts.

Britteny’s father, Durand Tyler of Anchorage, Alaska, filed suit in St. Louis Circuit Court against Halloween Productions, Inc., who was operating the attraction. Britteny’s mother, Vanessa Neal of Belleville, had already filed a personal injury lawsuit in St. Louis prior to Britteny’s death. Durand Tyler had no knowledge of this suit when his was filed and the two cases will most likely be consolidated.

Father, Durand Tyler, said that his daughter suffered from breathing difficulties on the way home from the visit to the haunted house. Tyler immediately transported her to the hospital, but by the time they reached the hospital, Britteny’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for at least seven minutes, leaving her in a vegetative state. Britteny’s medical bills total at least $1 million.

Larry Kirchner, president of defendant Halloween Productions, is also president of Haunted House Association, a trade organization. Their website states, “Haunted houses and attractions are EXTREMELY safe due to tough safety and fire codes they must all now live by.” It continues, “The industry as a whole takes safety seriously and works together to solve common problems.”

Larry Kirchner, nor his attorney could be reached for comment.


The A.W. Smith Law Firm in Columbia handles wrongful death and medical malpractice cases all over the State of Missouri. If you have questions about how to choose a law firm that is equipped to handle your wrongful death or medical malpractice case, please contact us today at 573-443-7300 or visit are website at The A.W. Smith Law Firm has recovered millions in settlments and verdicts in serious injury and wrongful death cases.