'I think God just called him': Mother of Holmes High School student reacts to his sudden death

Jaiden Curtis, 16, had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

By Fares Sabawi - Digital Producer, Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Bill Caldera - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Kathleen Curtis never imagined that she would lose her son, 16-year-old Jaiden Curtis, at a moment's notice.

On Thursday, Jaiden suddenly died in the parking lot of Ingram Park Mall. The Holmes High School student went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead shortly after noon. His mother believes he was at band practice hours before, and had drove to the mall to eat lunch.

As a child, Jaiden was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a heart condition that can cause arrhythmia, Curtis said in an interview with KSAT 12. Curtis said the cardiac arrest can be triggered by certain factors, like stress, dehydration or illness.

In his final moments, Jaiden appeared to know he was about to die, Curtis said on Friday. An app on his cell phone had even captured his heart rate, which had spiked dramatically.

"He was texting his girlfriend in California," she said. "He knew he wasn't going to make it. He said, 'I love you, I'm probably not going to be here tomorrow.'"

Curtis wished Jaiden would have called 911 as soon as he felt something was wrong.

"I think him being 16 played a factor too because he was not texting 911 or calling 911 when he should have been," Curtis said. "He is a compassionate and very passionate young boy and I know that he didn't suffer. He was very strong through everything. I think God just called him."

Jaiden was a leader among his peers in the Husky Marching Band of Holmes High School, a Northside ISD campus. He played tuba and taught himself how to play piano, she said. A spokesperson for the school district said members of the band generally practice for about 90 minutes at a time.

"He was so dedicated to band," Curtis said. "(The band) has been so kind to reach out to us (after his death)."

Despite the heart condition, Jaiden was cleared for marching band by a physician in recent weeks, Curtis said. He was part of the band last year, as well, and Curtis said Jaiden didn't exhibit any major health issues.

After Jaiden's death, Curtis wants parents of children with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome to be more aware of the potential health issues that come with it.

"I always held to the fact that he was ultimately a pretty healthy child," Curtis said. "Unfortunately, it does seem that if you have a child that was diagnosed with this condition they do need to be monitored closely."

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