Family of Utah Teen Who Died in Tetherball Rope Accident Recalls His ‘Joy’ and ‘Strength’

Maximus Knight, 13, died after he was found with a rope from a tetherball pole wrapped around his neck

<p>Spring Turner Funeral Home</p> Maximus Charles Knight

Spring Turner Funeral Home

Maximus Charles Knight

The family of a 13-year-old Utah boy who died on Oct. 28 after he was found with a tetherball rope around his neck is remembering him as “bright” and an “example of kindness & service” to his loved ones.

In a statement provided to PEOPLE Wednesday on behalf of the family of Maximus Knight, Jill Christianson, the boy’s aunt, said:  “Our hearts are broken, he was so bright, so beautiful, a most perfect example of kindness & service to his fellow friends & family. He was adventure & risk, he was joy & sweetness, he was tease & laughter, he was bravery & strength. He was love."

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office earlier said that a teen, later identified as Maximus, was helping to clean up at his family’s corn maze in Venice, Utah, per Fox affiliate KSTU-TV reported. The boy’s family searched for him after they noticed he was missing, per

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The sheriff’s office said Maximus was later discovered with a rope from a tetherball pole around his neck. At the time, he was neither breathing nor had a pulse, ABC affiliate KTVX-TV reported. The boy’s pulse was restored after an EMS crew arrived.

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Maximus was transported to a local hospital and then transferred to another location for additional care where he later died, reported KSTU.

Maxiumus’ death was confirmed by the Utah Medical Examiner to USA Today. Sevier County Sheriff Nathan Curtis earlier said, per, that there was no indication of foul play or suspicious activity, and that what happened to Maximus is believed to be an accident.

PEOPLE contacted the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office and the Utah Medical Examiner Thursday for additional information.

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According to his obituary, Maximus was the fifth child of parents Lee and April Knight. He is survived by them and his four siblings Audrey, Owen, Grace and Guy.

“He spent many of his early years being adored as the little baby brother by his older siblings,” it read. “He delighted in outings with his family at a very early age, including even boating as a baby. He always had a strong bond with his mother and is the best cuddler in his family.

The obituary noted that Maximus’ interests included wrestling and driving a tractor in the corn maze, adding that he also served as a deacon in the Venice ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before his death, Maximus attended Red Hills Middle School and participated in wrestling.

“Max would happily do anything that was asked of him – a benefit of working with his family from a young age,” the obituary added. “He loved trying to catch lizards, paddle boarding and being with family and friends at Lake Powell."

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“He was thoughtful of others' feelings. He sought out his sisters for help when being chased by his brothers, or his dog, Daisy. He liked to cuddle up to his sisters and share about his day. While Owen was on his mission, Max looked forward to his calls and enjoyed hearing his mission stories. Max would show him his wrestling moves on video chats and couldn’t wait to show him in person.”

Treyton, a friend of Maximus, said of the boy, per KTVX: “He would always stick up for others if anyone was talking bad about us. He would always stand up for us … he wasn’t scared to put people in their place.”

A GoFundMe was established by Maximus’ aunt, Laurie Ann Thor, who wrote in the description: “Maximus was a beautiful, sweet and loving child who brought so much joy to his family and to his community," wrote Laurie Ann Thor in the fundraiser description. “The youngest of his family, Maximus made every effort to impress his big brothers and care for those around him. Our hearts are broken as we struggle to make sense of this tragedy. We will forever mourn his passing.”

The fundraiser generated over $25,000 before donations were closed.

Funeral services for Maximus will be held Saturday in Richfield, according to his obituary. 

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