The mysterious death of a 10-year-old street performer has taken center stage in Bellingham, Wash.
Caleb Kors -- better known as "Flip the Circus Boy" -- was quite a popular act at the town's farmers market, juggling, performing acrobatics and amusing the crowd with magic tricks at an unusually young age.
Kors died on Jan. 10 from injuries he suffered during an apparent accidental hanging at his home, according to the Bellingham Herald.
Although initial reports suggest Caleb suffocated while trying to perform a circus trick, investigators now say it appeared more likely that he was climbing on something to collect material for a costume.
"As far as we know, the young man died in what appears to be an accidental hanging. How he got there, we're not actually sure. There did not appear to be anything suspicious or nefarious," Whatcom County Chief Criminal Deputy Doug Chadwick told the Los Angeles Times.
Caleb became interested in the circus arts two years ago after seeing a performance of the Bellingham Circus Guild and signed up for a youth workshop run by guild member Strangely Timothy Doesburg. However, longtime family friend Nikki Kilpatrick told the Times that his interest in show business seemed preordained.
"He was so charismatic, such a little entertainer," Kilpatrick told the times. "He absolutely adored dressing up. That kid was wearing costumes from the time he could pull clothes on. You'd see him in the store, and he'd be wearing pajamas with a cape and flippers and goggles."
Doesberg agreed, saying Caleb was in the best shape of any 10-year-old kid he's ever known.
"You don't meet many 10-year-olds with a six-pack," he said.
Not only did Caleb quickly master the difficult act of juggling four balls at once, he also managed the difficult feat of making money as a performer.
“[He was] making more money each month than I was actually making street performing," Doesberg told MyFoxSpokane.com. "He has this way of opening up, and saying, ‘Come share this with me, come be a part of this moment, this thing that I do.’”
Caleb's friends and neighbors have set up a Facebook memorial site, a website for donations to help pay medical and funeral costs and his fellow performers are planning a tribute performance.
But Doesberg says just knowing Caleb has changed his life in a way he never imagined.
“I had never really wanted to have kids, but I met him, and I was like, Oh I’m going to have kids if they’re going to turn out like him, but I know there’s a very small chance they would," he said. "It’s like winning the lottery to meet a kid like that.”
PHOTOS: CALEB 'FLIP' KORS
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