The Curtis family household in Breckenridge, Mo., is eerily quiet and uncomfortably calm without Steven. The 12-year-old’s daily pestering of his older brother and sister created a soundtrack of yelling and screaming. “I always said ‘Dennis the Menace’ had nothing on this child because he was mischievous out of this world. He would do anything to irritate anybody,” Kathy Curtis, Steven’s mother, told MSNBC.com. But when Steven instigated arguments between his siblings, he turned to his mother for protection. “You have a little demon child in all of them and he liked to tease and terrorize people,” she said. If he wasn’t creating mayhem himself, he liked to watch pro-wrestling on TV–another constant background noise the family now notices is missing.
When Steven wasn’t stirring up trouble inside, he was outside with his father and brother, hunting, fishing, or camping. His biggest catch was an 18-pound catfish. Steven was nicknamed “Huckleberry” for his freckled face, curly hair, and appreciation of the outdoors. A seventh-grader at Breckenridge School District R1, he used his energy as a linebacker for the Southwest Wildcats. He dreamed about earning a football scholarship to college. And although he liked to torment his 17-year-old brother Christian, Steven hoped someday to open a mechanics shop with his older sibling.
Steven died Jan. 12, a day after mishandling a gun that he had taken out of a locked safe in his Breckenridge home.