Teenage girl killed by lightning in Downers Grove park - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Teenage girl killed by lightning in Downers Grove park

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It was right at the bottom of this hill in O'Brien Park where Jennie Dizon was struck and killed. (Photo courtesy of FOX 32's Craig Wall) It was right at the bottom of this hill in O'Brien Park where Jennie Dizon was struck and killed. (Photo courtesy of FOX 32's Craig Wall)
Benet Academy mourns senior Jennie Dizon, fatally struck by lightning on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of FOX 32's Craig Wall) Benet Academy mourns senior Jennie Dizon, fatally struck by lightning on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of FOX 32's Craig Wall)
The home of Jennie Dizon. (Photo courtesy of FOX 32's Craig Wall) The home of Jennie Dizon. (Photo courtesy of FOX 32's Craig Wall)
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

A deadly lightning strike killed a Benet Academy high school student just days before she was set to graduate.

It's been a sad 24-hours for the family of 17-year-old Jennie Dizon. The young woman had dropped off her younger brother and sister at the dentist office and came to O'Brien Park in Downer's Grove with her sketch pad, looking for inspiration, according to her family.

But at about 5:20 p.m. Thursday night, a thunderstorm rolled through and lightning struck Jennie as she sat in a field at O'Brien Park near Dunham Road and 68th Street.

Paramedics were unable to revive her and she was declared dead on the scene at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, according to the coroner's office.

An autopsy determined Dizon, of Downers Grove, died of "electrocution consistent with a lightning strike," according to the coroner's office.

The emotions were raw and overwhelming for Dizon's family and friends who cried and hugged one another for comfort Friday night on the hill overlooking the field where she was struck and killed by a bolt of lightning.

Dylan Baker lives right next to area where Jennie was hit.

"I was bending down to work on my car, the second it hit I jumped up because it was so loud you could feel it in your chest," Baker said.

Those who knew and loved Jennie said she had an infectious smile.

"She's full of love, that's all I can say, full of love, she touched everyone she met," said her cousin, Jerome Hernandez.

Throughout the day relatives and friends came by the Dizon family's home to offer condolences.

Outside the front door, next to Jennie's Benet Academy graduation sign, friends left another hand-made sign offering love and prayers.

Dizon was a senior at Benet Academy, which is holding graduation ceremonies this weekend, according to the school's website.

The school issued a statement that read in part: "Throughout the day her close friends, classmates, teachers, and the entire school community have had opportunities to recall her many talents, her unique gifts, and her wonderful personality.

"Through a combination of tears and laughter, we have also shared with one another our recollections of many memorable experiences with Jennie. Most importantly, as people of faith, we have celebrated her entrance into eternal life. Though she was taken from us much too soon, we trust that she is now in God's loving embrace. May she rest in peace."

Classmates say the dean of students at Benet made the announcement about Jennie's death shortly after school started.

"There's something about hearing an adult cry, that's just different and he was very emotional," said Maggie Wilhelm, a classmate of Jennie's.

At the private Catholic School in Lisle, students gathered in the music hall to reflect on their classmate who loved music, drawing and writing.

"We kinda on the stage, in St. Daniels (music hall) we made kind a little bit of a memorial where we had like some pictures of her and some of her artwork from earlier in the year and a picture of her and then we have this big board going where all the seniors were writing on it. Writing what she meant to them and how they're gonna miss her," Wilhelm said.

For this very Catholic family, their faith and prayers are getting them through.

"They're just saying it's all part of God's plan in the end, but obviously, it hits hard," Hernandez said.

A wake will be held from 3-9 p.m. Sunday at Hallowell & James Funeral Home at 301 75th St. in Downers Grove.

For lightning safety tips, visit the National Weather Service's website.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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